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Theoretical methodology practical ethical considerations and quality criteria

5014 words (20 pages) Essay in Management

5/12/16 Management Reference this

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This chapter of the research thesis deals with different best ways or choices, philosophy, approach, strategy, methods and time time horizon etc of the research and reasons of research question or purpose which are highlighted in the first chapter and establish a background for the 2nd Chapter. This Chapter is divided in four parts: theoretical methodology, practical methodology, ethical considerations and quality criteria of the research thesis.

3.1 Theoretical Methodology

3.1.1 Research Philosophy

Research philosophy means “development of knowledge and the nature of that knowledge” Saunders et al, (2007, p. 101). As a researcher it is essential to understand the philosophical stance because it will affect the design of the study, steps for the study and all the important decision made all over of the research process (Saunders et al, 2007, pp. 101-102). There are two philosophical concepts for research (epistemology and ontology) which are explained and at the end the relevant stance of each concept for present study are discussed. Epistemology

Epistemology means that what knowledge is or should be acceptable in a discipline (Bryman and Bell, 2007 p. 16). In this context the main issue is that “whether or not the social world can and should be studied according to the same principles, procedures, and ethos as the natural sciences” (Bryman and Bell, 2007 p. 16). Epistemology is classified in to positivism, interpretivsm and realism.

Positivism is “an epistemological position that advocates the application of the methods of the natural sciences to the study of social reality and beyond” (Bryman and Bell, 2007 p. 16). This means that positivism supports different applications of natural sciences methods in social science study. The positivist research is value free, this means that researcher is neither affecting, nor being affected by the research (Saunders et al, 2007, p. 103).

Interpretivism is epistemological position opposite to positivism with a view that the element of social sciences that is people and institutions is fundamentally different from natural sciences, so social sciences can not take the same stance as natural sciences (Bryman and Bell, 2007 p. 17). For this purpose Saunders et al, mention that the field of business and management is extremely complex and underpinned by a number of elements that add uncertainty to it (2007, p. 106). Thus, the researchers can not predict the behaviour of an individual in a scientific manner but they can grab the subjective side of individual’s actions because different people have different perception about the world. Interpretivism is the concept that humans are in continuous process and interpreting their surrounding because of reality around them.

Realism is the combination or is the mixture of both positivism and interpretivsm. According to Saunders et al, that “What the senses show us as reality is the truth” (2007, p. 104)

As a researcher keeping in mind the motivational factors for employee’s motivation in restaurant industry and the actions of restaurant managers to motivate their employees, the interpretivism is the best epistemological stance for present study. For this study each employee and each manager is unique and influenced the research subject. So this study interprets the motivational factors. Ontology

According to (Bryman and Bell, 2007) ontology are concerned with the nature of social entities. There are two aspect of Ontology one is Objectivism and the other is constructivism. Objectivism explain the reality that the existing of social entities are beyond our influence and are external to the social actors while constructivism explain the fact of social phenomena which are created by its actors with constant revision (Bryman and Bell, 2007, p. 22). In the background of ontology present research study focuses on constructivism. However the study of front line employee’s motivation is performed in the organization setting and the researcher think that motivation is not stagnant but specifically in state of revision and socially construction, taking consideration ontological position.

3.1.2 Research Approach

This research study focuses on interpretivism philosophy to find out different motivational factors, which leads toward deductive approach to analyse this study. To start deductive approach researcher formulate research question with the help of different literature theories and concern area of knowledge. So on the basis of what was known about a particular domain (employee’s motivation) and theoretical consideration related to that domain (employee’s motivation), deduced two research questions which are subjected to empirical scrutiny (Bryman and Bell, 2007 p. 11), Which provide compact framework for this study and identify the most suitable approach for present research study.

1.4 Research Strategy

Most often research strategy focuses on the perspective that how the research is conducted, whether the research data is gathered with the help of quantitative or qualitative method. In quantitative approach researchers identify the number of data and figure, while in qualitative approach researchers find out the words and meaning. Qualitative research becomes visible gathering and analysing of the data from photos, videos transcripts, emails, notes, feedback forms, (Bryman and Bell 2007, p. 407). Further more qualitative research enables the researcher to get in-depth study with huge material, in order to explore the research area in detail (Sanders et al, 2000, p. 381).

1.5 Choice of Methods

Qualitative method is mostly preferred when the study area of research is measurable. It is also valuable to answers the different research questions which are raised during rational analysis. This type of rational analyses will help the author in central support that to find out familiar and correct answers for the raised questions during these analysis. However these methods play an active contribution to analyse certain motivational factors for restaurant employees.

Author analyse the feature of qualitative research and observe that it is more reflective and descriptive as compare to quantitative method and that is why choose qualitative approach for present research study. During practical implementation of the qualitative strategy author constructed dissimilar occurrence and connect toward in-depth information about the subject that is being studied. But the reason of too much subjective is that this method is critiqued, for instance, collecting concern information and deep examining the existing material is highly dependent on individuals from whom you are gathering information (Anderson, 2000). The selection of the method for this study depends upon the subject perception and purpose connection with research. However author tried to find out better information about motivational factors for restaurant employees, used qualitative method and its application to the research questions. These research methods helped out in more reflective loom and provide keen understanding about the areas, another reason for choosing qualitative method to asses and better suited to our research area. If the problem area is wider then researchers try to use qualitative method and if specified questions are formulated to analyse and test hypotheses then researchers use quantitative method (Carlsson, 1991).

1.6 Research Time Horizon

2 Practical Methodologies

2.1 Choice of the subject:

There are many reasons to choose the subject for present study. Focussing on future career path and to further improve knowledge in my speciality I as researcher concentrate to select interesting and will connected topic for my future direction The author is doing degree in management at master level and learned about management and also wants to continue further education in the field of Hospitality and Service Management that is why, I have selected restaurant industry for our research. I want to find out all those most important factors that influence the motivation of front line employees, so I have selected the restaurant industry in Umeå, Sweden. The main intention to conduct this study was of my interest to know that how the sense of duty and loyalty are being grown the hearts of the front line employees that they make every effort for the best interest of their restaurant.

2.2 Preconception

While going for in depth study for motivational factors, as a researcher I find out the important preconception that the financial reward and better wage rate are the significant factors for motivation, however some believed that pride and respect should be the right counter for employee motivation. In different literature review I find out that organization name and culture play imperative role in employee motivation. So before going in the stream of motivation I prepared myself by reading too much concern areas to contribute something new in the field of motivation.

2.3 Literature

For researcher it is important to find out more well-matched and relevant literature that guide the research question, precisely from generic to specific and from newer publication to older literature of the concern area to wrap superior area of information (Andersen, 2000). Initially as a researcher i started reading from more generic literature to get a good grasp of information about the motivation, which further enables me to contract the problem part and pay concentration on more specific literature, like different theories related to motivation.

Being a researcher it was very difficult task that what literature is to be focus for present research study, but when research questions and purpose of the study were developed then find out scientific articles and some books to understand the complexity of motivation in general and specific in restaurant industry. Due to limited research work on restaurant industry and especially on employee’s motivation in restaurants industry, the motivational factors are deduced from well known motivational theories and literature. This literature improved my internal potential and intellectual capability to make research on motivation of front line employees in fast food restaurant. The consultancy of supervisor and different professors of USBE, Umea University, helped me allots to choose related literature for this study.

2.4 Data collection methods

For data collection most prominent way/strategy is interview for both qualitative and quantitative research. So there are three different types of interviews on the basis of which researcher can collect data.

Structure interview also called standardized interview where interviewers ask/ give the same context of questions from all respondents that aggregate the replies on the basis of identical cues (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 210). But it is not common for exploratory researches (Saunders et al., 2009, p. 323).

Semi structure interviews, researchers prepare a list of question on specific topic but it is not important that question should be asked in the same pattern as listed. He/she can change the order and phrasing of questions. During interview researchers can ask some follow up question that is, to exactly understand the thing which he want (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 474).

Unstructured interviews are like a conversation also called informal type of interviews. In this type of interview there is no need to determine a list which should be following during interview (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 474).

In this study author used semi structured interview pattern as regarding front line employee motivation in restaurant industry. For semi structure interview researcher formed a list of certain questions on employee’s motivation and raised some follow up questions at the time of interview. The aim of these follow up questions was to interpret more information related to research questions of this study.

However being a researcher I have tried to find out the perception and understanding of each individual employee and as will as manager who encloses the entire work related features, I have been carefully select the best method to conduct interviews for present study, in order to find out the realty with high precision and accuracy. It was not possible for me as a researcher to observe individual directly and found inferences about his experience. However on the basis of reasonable facts, such as, their present and past experience, age, and duty etc author analyse the employees and managers within three (Max, MacDonald and Subway) restaurants collect data.

3.5 Sampling Approach

According to Bryman & Bell the universe of units from which the sample is to be selected by researchers is called population. These selections of sample may be from the universe of nations, cities, regions, firms etc. So the listing of all units in the population from which the sample will be selected is called sampling frame and the segment or subset of population that is selected for investigation is called Sample. Two methods are used to select the sample from a population, one is probability and the other is none probability approach (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 182). In probability sampling researchers select sample randomly that to give equal chance to each unit in population. While on the other hand in non probability sampling researcher not select sample randomly because some time researchers want more likely to select some units in population than other units. (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 12). On the basis of qualitative research the aim of present study is to construct meaningful knowledge. So for present study the approach of non probability sampling is used. There are different forms of non probability sampling.

Convenience Sampling – to select participants on the basis of conveniences that the access should be easy to participants (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 197).

Snowball Sampling – to contact small group and on the basis of this group establish other contacts. Some time become convenience sampling (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 197).

Judgment Sampling –

Quota Sampling – to select respondents from each category with equal proportion from the whole population. For example selection from gender, ethnicity, age groups, socio-economic groups, and regions etc with relative proportion. Such as equal respondents from income level of SKR 10000 and SKR 20000.

The population of the present study is restaurant industry in Umea, Sweden. The sampling frame in this study is, that to listed out all restaurants in Umea regions including restaurant with bars, pizzerias and fast food etc but the sample of the study is that that researcher listed three (Max, Subway and MacDonald) well known fast food restaurant for interview which is the subset of the whole restaurant industry. For present study convenience sampling approach is used because of accessibility. After identifying restaurants with the help of supervisor I contacted Max, Subway and Macdonald restaurants and visited to these restaurants in order to familiar with the situation. After that, researcher contacted four different managers in which two from MacDonald’s and the other two from Max and Subway restaurants. In order to find out their interest and cooperation regarding my study and give me valuable time from their busy schedule for research study. Although they were busy but show me much cooperation and arranged meeting and fixed time with them.

As my supervisor suggest me to interview both managers and employees. So for employees snowball sampling technique is used because with the help and reference of each manager I have arranged interview with their employees. The numbers of employees is four who are interviewed that is one from each restaurant.

Restaurants overview

Max: In 1968 Max firstly introduce hamburger restaurant before five years McDonalds came to Sweden and in the mid of 70s and 90s max dramatically expand into different businesses. Some of them are gyms, gas station, hotels, solariums and gourmet restaurants. We are going to put a short glimpse on max restaurants in Sweden because every individual prefer well known organizations for their employment. In 1968 Curt Bergors, 19 year old guy start hamburger grill with his co-habitee Britta in Gällivare. In 1970 hamburger expend with restaurant in Selene and adopted the name of Max. Now a days max represent as nationwide chain throughout Sweden which support by Bergfors family. Max lose 1050 million SEK due to fast turnover in the year of 2008 however max known as the second largest hamburger throughout the Sweden as compare to their competitors. In 2008 max have 67 restaurants and planning to increase the numbers of restaurants up to 100 in 2012. Max with 2500 employee taking edge by offering best type of foods as compare to McDonald. Max restaurants are famous for consistent quality of Swedish beef and Swedish chicken that is why Max claim for the better taste of their burgers. The survey conduct by SIFO and ISI Wissing about customer satisfaction that MAX is one of the best hamburger offered since 1964 in Sweden.

In 80s max open drugstore like max drugstore in deli, the European most favourite contains seven unique department including: flowers, international press centre, deli and party service, food and vegetable, fresh bred and candy land. In 83s max become famous by build 83 rooms restaurant in Luleå with sauna, pool and gym. Max launch cheese burger, bacon, max supreme in the restaurant of Helmling by in Gavel. From 83 to still 2010 max make themselves more diversified as compare to their competitors. Max has highly satisfied customers and numbers of time BBC indicate the perfection of max like climate labelling and climate compensation. Max win environment green award for the first time in 2009 (Max).

SUBWAY: This business started by Fred De Luca in 1965 with a common sandwich shop. 17 years old boy need money in order to sustain his education and pay for college. At December 2008 this business increases their asset up to dignified position with 32,401 franchised in different countries of the world maintaining 9.05 billion US dollar. Subway is famous equally to provide fast food most of the army, universities, colleges and other non traditional locations. Subway restaurant persistently improving their rank in the top 500 list and announce 02 in the overall franchise in 2008. Further more it maintain rank 03 in the fastest growing franchise in fast food industry. Subway offer numbers of product which included submarine sandwich, cookies, muffins, Danishes, quiznos, turbo chef, Merry chef, Brooklyn Manhattan Transit, and so many other products (Subway).

MCDONALD: In California two brothers Richard and Maurice started McDonalds in 1940. Their concept about speedy service system established the phenomenon of fast food restaurant. During 1960 McDonald reached to the top due to heavy advertising campaign “Look for the golden arches and a red hair clown for specific appeal children” which give enormous sale in the history of McDonald. During 1972 and 1976 the company exceed to three billion dollars. McDonald faces fierce competition among hamburger chain for the first time from the last decade of twenty century. During 1990 McRecycle started and made a commitment to utilize 100 million dollars annually for use of construction. McDonald took thirty three year to open first 10,000 restaurants in the year 1988, in the mid 1996 it reached to twenty thousand restaurants (McDonald).

McDonalds came to Sweden in 1973 and now approximately 230 branches operating in Sweden. MacDonald’s are meeting the expectation of their customers to deliver good food at low price and with fast and friendly service. The main focus areas of McDonalds are to satisfied customers, satisfied employees and improved economy. Community or civic involvement is a part of McDonald business and already in 50th century Ray Kroc the founder of McDonalds emphasized that “we give something back to the society in which we operate”. Due to civic involvement Pride among employees is the outcome of McDonalds. McDonalds believe that employees can only satisfy their customers. Therefore they provide friendly environment and give opportunity for training and development (McDonald).

This research study was done in Umea, Sweden and the focus was on front line employee’s motivation of the above restaurants. For the success of these restaurants the main role is played by employees who are delivering quality services and products. So the operations of these restaurants are not possible with out well trained and loyal employees.

3.6 Participants

As per ethical consideration to keep the identity of participants confidential the name of participants and restaurant can not be mention here. According to Bryman & Bell, 2007 this means that “the identities and records of individuals and organizations should be maintained as confidential” (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 133).

3.6.1 Managers

Manager A is a thirty year old male with two kids. He has been working for restaurant since last ten years. Being a manager he is absolutely satisfied with his job and employees. He had the mission to provide best opportunity for employee motivation in long term. He has six employees in his restaurants.

Manager B is thirty six year old and over thirteen year experience in restaurant. The managers by itself confess that he feel proudly to be the part of restaurant. He has eight employees in his restaurant.

Manager C is twenty six year old with one kid and nine years experience in restaurant. His current mission to take promotion to achieve their goal and as will to keep motivated their work force. He has five employees in his restaurant.

Manager D is fifty year old man with three kids. He is the owner of restaurant and working from the last two years. His ultimate mission is not only to earn the money as much as possible but also to provide best facility to his work force and kept them motivated for a long time. He has four employees in his restaurant.

3.6.2 Employees

Employee AA is a 29 years old person. He has a strong educational background and working in Macdonald from 2 years

Employee BB

Employee CC

Employee DD

3.7 Interview

In business research interview is a communication process between interviewer and interviewee where both parties will not influence each other. Interviewer expecting to learn something during communication process from interviewee (Andersen, 2000). The different kinds of interview (mention in Data collection methods section of this chapter) have some common features such as interviewer elicit from the respondents all required information (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 209).

3.7.1 Interview Guide and Conductions

As mention above that for this study semi structured or non standardized type of interview is used as regarding front line employee motivation in restaurant industry. For this semi structure interview I formed a list of certain questions on employee’s motivation and categorized the whole interview on different motivational factors and reward system such as “create a certain amount of order on the topic area and try to make flow in interview questions” (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 483). Also at the time of interview tried to raised some follow up questions. The aim of these follow up questions was to interpret and ensure all information related to research questions of this study. In semi structure interview those may be asked which are not included in the guide (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 474). In the list of interview the following sections are used for this study.

General Questions

Wage Related Questions

Work Environment Questions

Job Description Questions

Reward Questions

At this regard theoretical framework in literature review chapter provide enough space to develop and arrange different questions related to the problem area. Before conducting interviews I clear my self with the help of supervisor to understand the questions, its sequence and arrangement and further mentally prepared my self for expected follow up question to extend information, and to grab relevant issue in the topic.

2.7.2 Conduction of interviews

Make sure that individual researcher must have basic information before conducting interview, to avoid those questions and discussion which make the respondent feel too much relaxed, or bit long discussion to leave the central theme. For this purpose author carefully reviewed the (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 472-496).

To minimise the risk of losing the important idea during interview or discussion, author used tape record for interviews to be confirm that latter can restore the whole information. Qualitative researchers always use tape-records then transcribe their interviews (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 484).

For this study the interview process was as under.

First contacted the targeted managers and employees of restaurants

Fixed date for interviews which were suitable for them

Send interview questions through e-mail before the interview dates, that they also prepare themselves for these questions which will be ask during interview.

On the interview date again introduced my self with each respondent.

The interviews start with pleasant questions

At the end requested to the interviewees that if you have some ideas other than these question related to employees motivation. Please explain

The interviews ended with thanks

The request was made to all respondents for further information if needed so I am thankful to all respondents for theirs agreement.

As an interviewer for research I prepared my self and fulfil the whole criteria for a successful interviewer as given by Kvale (1996 cited in Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 484), such as ask step by step question, give time for thinking, listen attentively, tried to bring flexibility during discussion, remember the 1st answers given by interviewees, tried to clarify the meaning of different statements given by respondent but with out imposing, made balance between questions and answers from respondent means to say that did not talk too much and too little, and ensure the respondents that their answers will be treated confidentially (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 484).


Number of Interviewee



Restaurant Name







49 min.


Senior Manager

Area Manager

10 Year



39 min.




2 Years



50 min.

Happy Burger & fastfood



5 Years



53 min.



Branch Manager

3 Years



45 min.




9 Years

Quality criteria

This research study is qualitative and because of subjective nature of qualitative research sometime this type of researches is criticises by quantitative researchers (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 423), because researcher can add some thing or can interpret the fact from their own point of views and this type of research is also criticize for limited generalize ability. For this purpose that to bring quality in qualitative research Guba and Lincoln 1994, proposed two criteria: trustworthiness and authenticity which is cited in (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p 423). The trustworthiness comes in qualitative research with the combination of four criteria: credibility, transferability, dependability and confirm ability.

Crdibility means that the social reality which is studied by researcher is acceptable by others and this study must be (1) conducted according to good methodological practices and (2) be assessed by those who were studied. Which is also called respondent or member validation (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 411).

For the present study researcher conducted interviews with eight persons, four managers and four employees of different restaurants. So before submission of the final copy of this study I sent one copy to each of interviewees that to censor and validate. And it is ensured that this research will not use for other purpose as meant at the time of interview and validate the accuracy.

Transferability is the sub criteria related to the issue that some of the research findings can be transfer from one context to the other or these findings may be use in the same context other time (Guba and Lincoln, cited in Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 413). According to Bryman & Bell, 2007 that “qualitative findings tend to be oriented to the contextual uniqueness and significance of the aspect of the social world being studied”. (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 413).

The main aim of the present study is, to find out the key motivational factors and the role of management to increase the level of restaurant employee’s motivation in Umea region. The findings of this study may be generalized to the whole Sweden and some finding may be generalized to the branches of these restaurants in the world. But there is no any impact of lack transferability to present study and the researcher is hopeful that this study contributes a broad understanding of front line employee’s motivation in restaurant industry specifically in Umea, Sweden

Dependability is the idea for trustworthiness that “researchers should adopt an auditing approach” proposed by Guba and Lincoln cited in (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 414), that to bring truthfulness of the researcher. This approach gives the assurance that for consultation the records of step by step all phases of the research are kept for the future. This study is properly reviewed by supervisor and consulted her about every action taken for this research. The records of different action are kept for this study like, record of participants, field work notes and interviews transcripts. Although this approach is extremely time consuming and has not been widely adopted (Guba & Lincoln cited in Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 414).

Conformability means that “the researcher has not overtly allowed his personal vales or theoretical inclinations manifestly to sway the conduct of research and finding driving from it” (Guba & Lincoln cited in Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 414). But they also suggested that complete objectivity is impossible in business research.

The researcher cross checked the related elements of this study by supervisor and himself. The researcher is hopeful and tried his best to minimize the possible inclinations of any involved person in this study. For this study researcher acted in good faith and fulfil all ethical aspects required for a research.

Ethical Consideration

For the appropriateness of research work the researchers must ensure that they are using best methodological practices and should bring moral correctness related to involved people (Sauders et al 2007, p.178). The ethical principles are broken down to main four areas: harm to participants, lack of informed content, invasion of privacy and deception (Diener & Crandall cited in Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 414).

Harm to participants: the researchers should avoid all those things which directly or indirectly harm people who are involved in a research.

Lack of informed content: the researchers should voluntarily involve the organizations or participants in a research

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