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Business Research Methods Argumentative

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1. Discuss key issues and concerns arising from the fact that you, the manager, are also the researcher. In conducting a research study to estimate the sales potential of outboard engines within the U.S. and Canadian retail market, there are key issues and concerns that may arise from being both the manager and the researcher. Those matters of contention are a question of experience as a researcher, validity and reliability of the research, objectivity of the research with the possibility of bias, confliction of management roles and researcher roles with the possibility of money and time management confliction (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). As a sales manager, strategic business awareness of the outboard engine industry is critical to management success. Being an internal stakeholder can give an advantage of what strategic approach could work best for the company.

Due to this internal knowledge and industry experience, it is an easy task to define what research is required. Cooper and Schindler state that the problem “should be clearly defined and sharply delineated in terms as unambiguous as possible” (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 13). However, limited business research experience could easily be questioned. Managers possessing these research skills will be able to distinguish the depth of research that has been completed and whether or not it is enough to make an informed decision; especially when the focus is expanding the company’s products domestically. (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). As a manager and researcher, one must know what constitutes good, reliable research. One must ensure the purpose of the research is clearly defined; ensure the research is completely detailed; ensure the research design is thoroughly planned; ensure that high ethical standards are applied; ensure all limitations are frankly revealed within the research; ensure adequate analyzing of data occurs; ensure findings are presented unambiguously; ensure conclusions are justified; and ensure that previous research experience has been reflected. (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p pp. 13-15) If these characteristics are not fully followed, or ignored, it would increase management decision risks.

Thus, experience in business research is a key concern. (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 13). As the area sales manager, consideration and comparison of the advantages and possible disadvantages in estimating the sales potential of the company’s products in the domestic market would be in the forefront of assessing tactics and strategies in the increasing of the return of investment of the company. Thus, as the sales manager one could easily rush into utilizing general market data about possible customers and other competitive products and competitors, whereas the information could be limited for a critical management decision. As manager, one could lose focus in the real task ahead and influence the decision based on past experiences, and not on valid research. Thus, the validity and reliability of the research would be in question. (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 13). Objectivity and impartiality would be a major concern in the role of the manager as the researcher. As the sales manager, loyalty may conflict with truth.

There is a chance of bias especially in showing the high potential for sales of the company in comparison to competitors. As the manager acting as the researcher, additional steps would have to be taken to ascertain the validity of perception of the domestic sales’ assessment and to ensure accuracy. This concern connects to knowing what good research is and ensuring it is followed through thoroughly. On the other hand, an outside researcher presents only what is strictly supported by research, which may show a lower potential for sales. Ethical standards are paramount in being objective as both the manager and the researcher. The researcher is able to deal with the research with a more objective manner, and scientific manner which would produce unbiased results. “Efforts should be made to minimize the influence of personal bias in selecting and recording data.” (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 14). The confliction of manager and researcher roles is a key issue. As stated earlier, showing a high potential for sales without good business research, with bias to influence the facts, could be detrimental to making valid management decision.

Managers who are highly supportive of their companies either ensure they have the best research to ensure there is a competitive edge in their quest for a higher return of investment and give a false sense of competitive security. Another example could be as the sales manager area sales’ transactions could be lacking and there may be a temptation to steer the research toward showing positive results. Conversely, by opening additional business lines, it could spread the sales team thin; negative results may be shown instead. (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). A lack of time or money could be factors of concern when working on a business research plan. As sales manager, responsibilities include, but not limited to, assigning territories, setting sales quotas, sales team training, create a strategic sales plan, and hiring personnel. Time management of performing a well, organized plan of research could easily conflict with responsibilities as the sales manager. Thus, putting forth the time, effort, and company’s money could be negative factors in fulfilling the primary role and responsibility as the sales manager. There is a considerable time requirement to conduct effective business research, especially when it deals with possible outboard engine product expansion within the domestic markets; such an undertaking would have a negative impact on primary sales management duties (Cooper & Schindler, 2011).

2. Ch.1 – 10 — Apply the principles in Exhibit 1-4 to the research scenario in question 8. The management dilemma is “the problem or opportunity that requires a management decision.” (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 5). In this case, the management dilemma could be declining sales, new products, or competition. The question that management would like answered is how do we know the sales potential of the company products in the domestic market? The management dilemma is often triggered by a problem or opportunity. (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 12). In this situation, it is triggered by the opportunity to gain knowledge to hopefully increase sales. Once the management dilemma is understood, the company needs to define the management question. Here, it would be how can we discover the sales potential of the company’s outboard engines in the domestic market of the US and Canada? The management question can be defined by starting with the basic dilemma and then develop additional questions by breaking down the original question into more specific ones. (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, pp. 12-13).

After both the management dilemma and question are established, the research question and the hypothesis that states the purpose of the research, must be defined. This question focuses the attention of the research to one main thought. (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, pp. 12-13). In this case, the research questions would include the following: (1) What is the best method to discover sales potential? (2) What course of actions management needs to take to launch outboard engines into the domestic market? (3) What domestic markets currently carry products similar to our company? These questions would need to be tested through exploration and then redefined for clarity. In this case, looking at the current market or customers, should the focus only be on a specific type of customer or should the engine or model be modified in order to reach other target customers or markets?

Upon answering these questions, among others, the researchers would build the research proposal and continue with the following steps: determine the research design strategy, collect and prepare data, analyze and interpret data, report the research, and make a management decision (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, pp. 14-15). 3. You observe the following condition: “Our female sales representatives have lower customer defections than do our male sales representatives.” a. Propose the concepts and constructs you might use to study this phenomenon Cooper and Schindler (2011) define concepts as “a generally accepted collection of meanings or characteristics associated with certain events, objects, conditions, situations, and behaviors.” (p. xxx). A construct is defined as “an image or abstract idea specifically invented for a given research and/or theory-building purpose.” (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. xxx). 1. Sales skills construct

a. Professionalism
b. Sales process
c. Business acumen
2. Satisfied customer construct
d. Female sales representative
e. Male sales representative
f. Product mix
g. Accuracy of orders
3. Female sales representative construct h. Personality
i. Physical attractiveness
j. Self-Motivation
4. Communication skills construct
k. Clear message
l. Good listener
m. Body language

b. How might any of these concepts and/or constructs be related to explanatory hypotheses? Explanatory (Casual) hypotheses “is an implication that the existence of or a change in one variable causes or leads to a change in the order variable.” (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 63). One explanatory hypotheses could be “Increasing the number of females in the sales force (IV) will lower customer defection rate (DV).” Another explanatory hypotheses could be “lowering customer defection rates (IV) increases the company’s profitability (DV).” 4. Ch. 3 – 8 — Identify and classify all the variables in the Army’s dud shell research. Item| Variable Type| Comment|

High-risk behavior of the population: nocturnal scavenging, race car driving| Dependent| Mining is a dangerous profession. To do the job, the population became inured to risk.| Landscape of bomb site| Dependent| |

Death rate| Dependent| |
Bombs| Dependent (Dichotomous)| Bombs either explode or do not explode| Every 20th bomb is a dud| Dependent (Continuous)| |
Loss of mining jobs| Independent| |
Local Population| Independent| |
Dud detonation| Independent| |
Dud bombs| Independent| |
Firing range| Moderating| The firing range allowed for the nocturnal scavenging| Culture of the population| Moderating| |
History of the community| Moderating| |
Economy| Moderating| |
Attitude of the population| Moderating| |
Limited Education| Moderating, Extraneous| Contributed to risk acceptance| Location of bomb site| Extraneous| |
Bombing aircraft| Extraneous| |
Profit motive of nocturnal scavenging of copper wire| Intervening| The profit motive drove the nocturnal scavenging of the duds|

5. Confronted by low productivity, the president of Oaks International, Inc. asks a research company to study job satisfaction in the corporation. What are some of the important reasons that this research project may fail to make an adequate contribution to the solution of management problems? Productivity is the rate at which goods and services having exchange value are brought forth or produced. (Dictionary, 2013). The reason why this research project may fail is the preconceived notion that the jobs’ satisfaction is related to low productivity. Job satisfaction has a strong relationship with productivity, but may not be the only cause of the low productivity in the corporation. Companies with low level of productivity could theoretically get significantly more work done, but they have factors that hold them back from their full potential. (May, 2013). Some of the following factors could be, but are not limited to: lack of leadership or management, un-safe environment, outdated systems, employee dissatisfaction, employee personal problems, and/or inadequate communication between departments. (Cooper & Schindler, 2011).

Cooper and Schindler (2011) state that “the management question – its origin, selection, statement, exploration and refinement – is the critical activity in the sequence.” (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 81). In this case, the management dilemma is not being fully explored since it is being attributed to job satisfaction. The management dilemma is low productivity and the reasons for this should be discovered separately. Until specific management questions are formulated, focused research cannot begin. If the researcher were to just start taking surveys on the job satisfaction of employees, the manager would end up with accurate information, but it may not be the solution to the low productivity issue. 6. Ch. 4 – 5 — Based on an analysis of the last six months’ sales, your boss notices that sales of beef products are declining in your chain’s restaurants. As beef entrée sales decline, so do profits. Fearing beef sales have declined due to several newspaper stories reporting E.coli contamination discovered at area grocery stores, he suggests a survey of area restaurants to see if the situation is pervasive. a. What do you think of this research suggestion?

Beef sales in the restaurant might be declining but there is no mention of general sales or sales of other items. Attributing the sales decline to a recent E. coli breakout may or may not be the cause. The management dilemma is declining beef sales over the last six months. It is better to start the research with the question of “Why have beef sales declined over the last six months?” instead of assuming the cause. This would allow the research to explore all possibilities instead of just the E. coli theory. b. How, if at all, could you improve on your boss’s formulation of the research question?

Cooper and Schindler (2011) define the management dilemma as “the problem or opportunity that requires a management decision.” (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 5). In this case, the management dilemma is declining beef sales. Defining the correct question(s) becomes central to solving this dilemma. Attempting to solve the wrong questions will lead to wrong answers. Cooper and Schindler (2011) think “the management question- its origin, selection, statement, exploration, and refinement-is the critical activity in the sequence” (p. 81). The general management question is “How can we increase beef sales?” This would allow the fullest range of answers. The buying habits of diners have changed and this is the question that must be answered. It could be that patrons can no longer afford the beef on the menu or the restaurant has a new cook and is ruining the steaks or even a new television show advising fish as a healthy choice.

This process should start with the patrons of the restaurant itself as it will provide more relevant feedback and information particular to the restaurant. Research questions that begin to discern the reason behind why their diners are changing their menu selections need to be formulated. The restaurant then needs to be prepared to modify its menu or operations to satisfy the diner’s needs. 7. Ch. 5 – 12 — Develop the management-research question hierarchy (Exhibits 5-6 and 5-8), citing management dilemma, management question, and research question(s) for each of the following: a. The president of a home health care services firm.

Management dilemma: Why are our customers complaining about the food we provide? Management question: How can our organization improve our product? How can our organization eliminate this negative feedback?
Research questions: Should we change the food supplier? Should we expand the menu to offer more options? Should we purchase higher quality food? Should we provide smaller or bigger portions? Should we hire more experienced kitchen staff? b. The vice president of investor relations for an auto manufacturer. Management Dilemma: Why are previous investors in our company looking elsewhere to other investment opportunities? Management Question: How can we improve our perception among investors in order to have them reinvest in our company?

Research Questions: What type of investor are we seeking to attract, institutional or independent? How important are dividends to these investors? Are the investors seeking growth or income? What dividends would we be willing to offer? What direction as a company do investors want to see us go? Are we prepared to change direction as a company to meet investor criteria? c. The retail advertising manager of a major metropolitan newspaper.

Management dilemma: Why are advertising sales declining in our newspaper?
Management question: How can our company improve advertising sales?
Research questions: Should we change our advertising rates? Should we offer more advertising options? Should we change the market approach? What is our competitive advantage? d. The chief of police in a major city

Management Dilemma: Why has there been an increase of crime in the southwest portion of the city? Management Question: What can be done to decrease crime in the southwest portion of the city? Research Questions: What has changed in the southwest portion of the city that has increased crime? What percentage of our officers can we move to this section of our city to increase our presence? Who can our Community Affairs Department work with to get community cooperation? Do we have enough substations in this section of the city? Where would new substations need to be located?


Cooper, D., & Schindler, P. (2011). Business Research Methods. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Dictionary. (2013). Productivity definition. Retrieved January 20, 2013 from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/productivity May, K. (2013). What are the causes of low levels of productivity? Retrieved January 20, 2013 from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/causes-low-levels-productivity-37959.html

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