Research Methodology for Business Analysis

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

METHOD

Research Strategy

The purpose of this study is by using the literature as a construction to answers our two research questions. Because our questions are deep, and for that reason hard to measure, an analytical research methodology that promotes dimension and a quantitative model is not befitting our study. Because the term strategy can be an intangible trend, information about the subject can only just be collected through profound interviews. For such studies the qualitative research strategy is preferred (Gilljam, Esaiasson et al 2004).

Our purpose is to describe the strategy applied in our case company utilizing the literature we've put together as a platform. Even though there could be some instances of normative conclusions for how a strategic management settings system should be formed, there is no immediate empirical research tied to that conclusion inside our thesis. Therefore our research way neither derives from a normative research strategy. Our analysis should alternatively be classified as a descriptive one. Our main goal is to describe how a strategy can be identified and how it could be used as a management control tool. The descriptive study is used to describe a certain occurrence through previous theories and thereby tests the validity of these theories used. The descriptive review contributes to a deductive research approach. The deductive way is used when the study is based on previous ideas. The ideas used states which kind of empirical information that should be gathered, how it ought to be interpreted and the way the results can be related to the theories to spell it out the empirical material. This research approach consist the bottom of our thesis.

Research Philosophy

Since we wished to identify the strategy of Lema, the best way to gather these details was to interview the staff of the management team. Through our interviews we were able to gather enough empirical information to interpret and express Lema's strategy based on our theoretical platform. Due to our emphasis on interviews we derive our interpretation of reality through an operator's perspective. This point of view concludes that reality is a social engineering (Gilljam, Esaiasson et al 2004) and it is interpreted in another way by each individual. Therefore the real truth consists of coherency among different individuals' interpretations of actuality. This perspective is consistent with the choice of executing four interviews to validate the coherency between each individual's interpretations and so we attempt to create a reliable empirical data of reality.

Inquiry approach

By learning and summarizing the works of Michael Porter and Chan Kim & Mauborgne's Blue Ocean Strategy we have think of a coherent theoretical work structure for examining what sort of strategy can be identified in an actual business. Further to this, we have investigated how the strategy can be performed by using Kaplan & Norton's theories about Strategic Mapping as well as the Balanced Scorecard as well using Simon's strategy execution theory Degrees of Control.

According to Robert K. Yin (2006), a research study is that which discusses a modern-day truth in its real context. A research study also supports the use of several theoretical frameworks to spell it out empirical information. Relative to this assistance we realized that this was a proper method for achieving the purpose of our thesis. Therefore our research method is dependant on a detailed, single case study where we examined both strategy and strategy management control system. Further to the we also wanted to explain how the different theories could be used as complements one to the other and use them together to describe the strategy of your company.

Selection of RESEARCH STUDY Objects

In order to be able to apply the ideas that people have chosen for strategy explanation and strategy execution, we thought a company with a specific market position would be well suited for us. This because an evident market position often indicate a definite value proposition, which helps the process of defining a technique (Porter, 1996, 1998). Since our theoretical platform revolves around many different theories, it was also important that the business was of an appropriate size so that people would to have the ability to put together the empirical and theoretical material into one comprehensible context. When searching for interesting companies that might be befitting our thesis, we became increasingly more considering Lema because they have got a unique strategy and position. While the the greater part of companies have endured through the recent financial meltdown, Lema has defied this general pattern of decrease and prospered. In middle-2009 their progress rate was higher than it had been for almost half of a decade, despite the prevailing crisis. The actual fact that Lema has defied the general condition of the market suggests that they are simply for some reason distinguished using their company competitors. This prompted our interest for a more detailed review of the strategy that has added to Lema's success.

After some primary associates with Lema and acquiring their support we made a decision to build our case study around their company.

Literature search

In order to discover a practical and valid theoretic platform for strategy explanation and strategic management control systems, we started our books search by looking at prior studies within the field of tactical management controls.

This was done by searching the Swedish repository "Uppsatster. se" and through Gothenburg University's own data source GUNDA. We used key search words such as "strategy", "strategic management control buttons" and "strategy implementation" to find relevant studies within the specified field. After covering a broad number of prior works we found several widely used articles and catalogs. We later searched for these articles by going into their specific article names within the technological directories EBSCO, Emerald and Yahoo scholar. The books that we found in our thesis were within the various Gothenburg University or college libraries by looking on either the author's name or the subject of the reserve. We first briefly overviewed the articles and books that we experienced found in order to judge whether they were relevant to our research question or not. The resources that people found relevant were later used to create our theoretic construction. We were also given literature assistance from our supervisor Ingemar Claesson and from a business circumstance competition's (BI-Marathon) readings suggestions. The coherency one of the sources we found through the databases searches and the ones sources we received from our supervisor and reading recommendations from the business competition gives trustworthiness of relevancy to your resources. Since our thesis converge two interconnected discourses; those of strategy books and those of management control, we consider our literature overview of five models quite broad. This process enabled us to use a blend of appropriate theories to be able to answer our research questions in a manner that we found fit.

Through the literature search and understanding of the prior studies we created a theoretical framework. This theoretic platform guided our collection of empirical data in the event study so that the theoretic framework could later express and interpret the empirical information.

Selection of Respondents

In the process of selecting respondents we assumed that we had a need to interview employees at leading positions within Lema to be able to get information from those with significant insight into the strategic processes. In order to gain a wide perspective of Lema business and activities we thought we would interview the CEO, CFO, Purchasing Administrator and the Store Supervisor of the business. By interviewing these respondents we gained insight into different areas highly relevant to our analysis.

Our respondents were
  • Boris Lennerhov, CEO, Lema Ullared (3/5 16. 00-18. 00)
  • Per Andreasson, CFO, Lema Ullared (3/5 10. 00-12. 00)
  • Christian Henriksson, Store Manager, Lema Ullared (4/5 10. 00-12. 00)
  • Carin Kjellgren, Purchasing Director, Lema Ullared (5/5 10. 0-12. 00)

Interviews

We have designed our interview template based on the theories that we have compiled so that the interview would be thematic and in that way congruent with the purpose of our thesis (Gilljam, Esaiasson et al 2004). Our interview questions were designed in a semi-structured way, as an entirely organized interview often leaves inadequate room for respondents to answer readily (Patel & Davidsson, 1994) A semi-structured interview also enabled each respondent to focus on the questions he/she found more relevant. We used the same basic design for those interview templates to be able to get a broad point of view of the interview subject matter also to cross-reference these answers with each other to see the answers coherency.

Before the interview we attained with the respondents to briefly describe to them on the different areas that people would be talking about so our respondents would be familiar with the issues of the interview. However we did not send the exact interview template, since we did not want our respondents to give us "automated" answers. Nothing of the respondents requested to be private, which contributed to the trustworthiness of our research (Gilljam, Esaiasson et al, 2004).

Data processing

To facilitate the info control and ensure the stability of data received from our interviews we printed out out our interview web templates and used them through the interviews. Answers were report by both computer and by hand to ensure reliable answers. Because the interviews were performed in Swedish to be able to be sure our respondents felt comfortable and also to have the ability to gather more info, we had to first translate the raw data into English. The interviews were recorded for validity check through the data control.

After documenting all answers straight after each interview we come up with all four answers and concluded the coherent answers of each performed interview into one final main answer. This technique is consistent with this research beliefs of the operator's perspective that the truth is based on coherency among each individual's interpretations.

Due to our interview framework, which is based on our theoretic construction, we could very easily associate the answers to our theories. We later analyzed the empirical data with this theoretic platform to answer our two research questions.

Method Critics - Validity and reliability

The validity of clinical tests is the most challenging and most important problem in empirical interpersonal studies. (Gilljam, Esaiasson, 2004) The word validity can be defined in three various ways
  1. Congruency between the theoretic description and the operational indicators
  2. Free from organized errors
  3. The research examines what we plan to research

The first two meanings can be grouped as conceptual validity while the third definition is grouped as effect validity. (Gilljam, Esaiasson, 2004)

These two categories are related to one another by the following formula

Conceptual validity + Trustworthiness = Effect validity (Gilljam, Esaiasson et al, 2004)

The best validity problem is that of conceptual validity. The issue of social technology empirical research is that lots of theoretic conditions are abstract and intangible and therefore helps it be difficult to use proper functional indicators that gauge the theoretic term. Therefore inappropriate results and incorrect conclusions are manufactured by using inconsistent functional indicators to measure the theoretic term.

Further for the correct lead to be valid, the stability of the study must be high. Trustworthiness means that the thesis is clear of unsystematic and arbitrary errors. These kinds of errors might occur scheduled to stress, carelessness or sloppy notes, misunderstood interview answers, negligence of certain information during data handling etc. However it is argued that conceptual validity is more important than reliability. (Gilljam, Esaiasson et al, 2004) For instance if the functional indicators found in a study does not measure the intended theoretic term the email address details are flawed, but if the conceptual validity is right and the stability is low the email address details are slightly skewed although overall result is still accurately measured.

Since the theoretic conditions strategy and management control systems are incredibly abstract and interpreted in another way among researches and professionals. There are no unanimous functional indicators that properly define these two conditions or any unanimous construction in which those two conditions can be detailed. Yet, in this thesis we've implied a theoretic construction that led us how to spell it out strategy and through this framework we created interview questions that may be viewed as our operational indicators. Thereby we attemptedto achieve nearly as good conceptual validity as you possibly can.

To raise the reliability of your thesis, we taped all our interviews and performed the same interview with this four chosen respondents. We used set up interview templates printed on A4 paper that would give a clear guide for notes and managed to get easier for all of us to send answers to your literature framework. We transcribed the answers immediately following the interviews to make certain that the answers were effectively noted. Still the stability for this research might be imperfect because our tendencies through the interview may have afflicted the respondents' answers. However we tried out to prevent this so-called interviewer's impact (Denscombe, 2000) by responding as neutral as you possibly can to the respondent's answers. Further, Lema has not worked with any sort of strategy manages therefore some respondents were not really acquainted with our subject. When the respondents had read through our content email and well prepared somewhat before our interviews, their answers might have been better.

Since we only conducted four interviews with the management team of Lema our empirical finding might include a sizable amount of their subjective assessments. It could have been better to interview a larger variety of respondents within the management team and even execute the same interviews with external industry experts5 to help expand validate the answers of the respondents from Lema.

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