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1 Chapter 1 Introduction Diversity in Management Research.

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1 1 Chapter 1 Introduction Diversity in Management Research

2 2 AIMS u To appreciate the complexity of management research; u To introduce the impact of the researcher's philosophical commitments upon the choice of methodological approach; u To understand the difference between deduction and induction in research methodology.

3 3 What is Research? Research is a process of systematic enquiry directed toward increasing knowledge and understanding. It is focused on answering relevant and important questions. Without a question, research has no focus or purpose. It is systematic - a set of procedures and steps to follow. It is organized and methodical - a planned procedure focused on a specific issue. It is a gathering of data, information and facts for the advancement of knowledge.

4 4 Diversity in Management Research u A complex and changing field. u Different schools of management thought and methodologies dominant and controversial quantitative orthodoxy within management research; coming of age of qualitative and interpretive methods; critical management studies. u No one best methodological approach.

5 5 Nature of Management Research u Striking feature is that management research operates no single agreed theoretical perspective. u It is a fragmented field (Whitely, 1984), utilizing knowledge and research methods often drawn from associated disciplines in social sciences. u Management research (Tranfield and Starkey, 1998) concerned with knowing what and associated questions of knowing how. u Should management research address presumed pragmatic concerns of what are implications for management? u Or should it be concerned with understanding the structures and processes of social reality?

6 6 Making Methodological Choices Approaches to Creating Knowledge u Research aims to add knowledge by applying various methods and strategies. u Assumptions about what is being researched and how it can be known. u Should different kinds of reality be approached in different ways? u Can any approach guarantee certain knowledge or absolute truth? u Philosophical commitments made through methodological choice.

7 7 Engaging with Theory Deductive and Inductive Logics OBSERVATION of the empirical world tested through Process of Deduction in order to build THEORY Process of Induction THEORY OBSERVATION of the empirical world

8 8 Philosophical Commitments u We cannot avoid making philosophical commitments in undertaking any research. u That is, knowledge-constituting assumptions about the nature of truth, human behaviour, representation and the accessibility of social reality. u Need to answer questions about: ontology (what are we studying?), epistemology (how can we have warranted knowledge about our chosen domains?), and axiology (why study them?).

9 9 Identify Broad Area Decide Approach Formulate Plan Collect Information Analyse Data Present Findings The Research Process Select Topic (Adapted from Howard and Sharp,1983)

10 10 Positivistic Approach to Management Research u Positivistic approaches are predominant in management research. u Suggestion is that there is one right way of looking at the social world, and management research should strive to find this way. u Management research is concerned with the study of problems using scientific methods derived from the natural sciences. u The Scientific Method employs deductive logic and the testing of hypotheses about causal relationships between phenomena. u Typical scientific research design includes: a priori hypotheses that specify causal predictions of relationships between variables that may be then tested empirically through data collection; using methods that quantitatively measure the variables in the investigation.

11 11 Challenges to the Positivistic Mainstream u That there is no single method which generates scientific knowledge in all cases. u That what may be an appropriate method for researching the natural or physical world may be inappropriate in the social world given the inherent meaningfulness, and subjective or cultural basis, of all human behaviour including of management action. u That knowledge generated is not objective or neutral but is affected by, amongst other things, the goals of managers. u There are, therefore, a number of approaches to management research, each with its own philosophical rationale.

12 12 Conclusions Management research may be classified according to its purpose. u It may be concerned with solving theoretical issues; something capable of wide generalization but difficult to achieve. u It may be policy-orientated by being concerned with solving a very specific practical problem in one company. u It may be classified according to the broad methodological approach taken to achieving its purposes, and this is the main focus of the book. Understanding philosophical issues helps: u to clarify research designs: What kind of evidence is required, how is data to be gathered and interpreted and how this will provide good answers. u the researcher recognize which designs will work and which will not; with how to adapt research designs according to constraints of different subjects or knowledge structures. Gilbert (2001) Researching Social Life

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