Nobody in this time and age would question the importance of business research process as the key to accessing valuable information and insight. The results of business research processes that are conducted accurately and reliably should provide the needed inputs for making business decisions. However, people employ the same research processes to deliberate among options that are available to them or to come up with personal decisions – both big or small – that just have to be based on logical and sufficient grounds.
Gathering data and systematically using them to support conclusions, recommendations and all sorts of decisions require the application of statistical procedures and methods. Statistics, then, is invariably a good part of business research process. In fact, statistics lends credence to opinions that may have been gathered in the course of the research. Its inclusion leads business research processes to generate objective and sound output.
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According to the author Jensen Zhao, there are five phases of the general research process that together serve as the pillars of an effective business research. The first is conceptualization, which guides the researcher in finding the questions that should eventually lead to the problem that he will endeavor to present solutions for. Other than the formulation of the problem, this phase further includes the skimming and assessment of available materials and the relevant data therein, and the establishment of specific purposes of the research. (2007) The second phase, the research design, can be further broken down into three activities, as follows:
First, select an appropriate research method as discussed in the previous section. Second, determine the population of the study, its sample size, and sampling method. Third, develop an instrument for measuring the existence, characteristics, size, quantity, and quality of the research variables with proper scales (Zhao, 2007).
Research Procedures pertain to the activities that concretely will enable the researcher to get hold of reliable primary data. The manner of acquiring data and the data itself will all be discussed in detail in the research paper. Examples of research procedures include the conduct of surveys through the use of questionnaires and housing the research subjects in a place that is conducive to examining and studying them (Zhao, 2007).
Data analysis is the fourth phase of business research. It converts random, non-useable data into summaries that can, hence, be helpful for the next steps to be accomplished. This phase involves presenting the primary data gathered in ways that make them ready for interpretation or application to the business research issues. It further includes the part for analyzing the data and relating them to the problem tackled as the subject or focus of the business research (Zhao, 2007).
The research conclusion follows the data analysis. It discusses the results of the business research by briefly going over the facts gathered from procedures performed, the opinions of experts as indicated in their published works, and the overall conclusions or recommendations that are well-supported by the entire research. (Zhao, 2007).
As part of the business research paper that has been put together to present discrimination against women as allegedly perpetuated by the top management of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, the following statistical figures have been gathered and further translated into graphs and tables to strongly bring home the main message of the research:
(Source: Managing a Diverse Workforce, p. 425)
The case article entitled, “Dukes vs. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.” recounts the failed aspirations of Betty Dukes to make it to the ranks of salaried managers. Similar stories of other women who worked for Wal-Mart were as well related in the article, bolstering the premise of the latter as being guilty of discriminating management practices (Zhao, 2007).
The research on management malpractices at Wal-Mart covers the acquisition of primary data from women who allegedly were victims of acts of sexual discrimination committed therein. Facts backed by reliable sources were gathered and statistical data were presented in concise manners through the use of graphs and tables. Interviews of concerned victims and third parties at the same time should render objectivity to the reported synopsis.
The results of the data-gathering yielded statistical details that were due to be further processed and analyzed as to their meaning and significance. The research data supported the decreasing number of women in the upper echelon of the company management. In fact, it was illustrated that the women hardly ever progressed to the higher positions in the department store management.
Factual data from as far back as 1991 uncovered the differences in pay and promotional opportunities accorded to male and female employees of Wal-Mart’s. It was further revealed that despite the higher average performance rate of the female employees as compared to the male ones, it took the women a lot longer to merit promotions and their salaries were consistently lower than their male counterparts.
The researcher gathered data on incidents that could be in any way construed as sexual discrimination. The data gathered went as far back as 1991, as detailed in the research paper. However, Wal-Mart was incorporated in 1969; it was, thus, already in its 22nd year in 1991. In the interest of fairness and objectivity, the data during the first 20 years of the company’s existence should as well be considered in the data-gathering phase of the research. Otherwise, the entire data generated can easily be set aside as plainly biased and misleading.
While the written paper featured views and voiced remarks of alleged victims of sexual discrimination, there was no mention of any comment, statement or reaction coming from any of Wal-Mart’s officers. Otherwise, the one-sided sentiments and quips taken into account by the researcher rather become not sufficient and not adequate enough to become basis for any conclusions to be drawn.
Facts and statistical data can be classified, arranged and presented to serve the interests of a just a minority. The same details can paint any picture, as intended by the holder of the pen. To check out, therefore, for such tendencies of people to be subjective and to push their own agenda, it is always wise to go over the data gathered and to screen them as to verifiability, fairness, completeness and objectivity.
Lind, D. Marchal, W. & Wathen, S. (2008). Statistical Techniques in Business and Economics 13th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies.
Zhao, J. (2007). Research in Business. The Thomson Corporation.
Booth, N., Robson, C., Welham, J. & Fosters Solicitors of Norwich. (2004). Managing a Diverse Workforce. Croydon, UK: LexisNexis UK, a Division of Reed Elsevier (UK) Ltd.
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