Chapter 1 – Research in Business, Chapter 2 – Ethics in Business Research
CHAPTER 1 – RESEARCH IN BUSINESS Why Study Business Research? Business research provides information to guide business decisions. Business research plays an important role in an environment that emphasizes measurement. Return on investment (ROI) is the calculation of the financial return for all business expenditures and it is emphasized more now than ever before. Business research expenditures are increasingly scrutinized for their contribution to ROMI. Research Should Reduce Risk The primary purpose of research is to reduce the level of risk of a marketing decision.
Business Research Defined A process of determining, acquiring, analyzing, synthesizing, and disseminating relevant business data, information, and insights to decision makers in ways that mobilize the organization to take appropriate business actions that, in turn, maximize business performance. What’s Changing in Business that Influences Research Several factors increase the relevance for studying business research.
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•Information overload. While the Internet and its search engines present extensive amounts of information, its quality and credibility must be continuously evaluated.
The ubiquitous access to information has brought about the development of knowledge communities and the need for organizations to leverage this knowledge universe for innovation—or risk merely drowning in data. Stakeholders now have more information at their disposal and are more resistant to business stimuli. •Technological connectivity. Individuals, public sector organizations, and businesses are adapting to changes in work patterns (real-time and global), changes in the formation of relationships and communities, and the realization that geography is no longer a primary constraint. Shifting global centers of economic activity and competition.
The rising economic power of Asia and demographic shifts within regions highlight the need for organizations to expand their knowledge of consumers, suppliers, talent pools, business models, and infrastructures with which they are less familiar. •Increasingly critical scrutiny of big business. The availability of information has made it possible for all a firm’s stakeholders to demand inclusion in company decision making, while at the same time elevating the level of societal suspicion. More government intervention. As public-sector activities increase in order to provide some minimal or enhanced level of social services, governments are becoming increasingly aggressive in protecting their various constituencies by posing restrictions on the use of managerial and business research tools. •Battle for analytical talent. Managers face progressively complex decisions, applying mathematical models to extract meaningful knowledge from volumes of data and using highly sophisticated software to run their organizations.
The shift to knowledge-intensive industries puts greater demand on a scarcity of well-trained talent with advanced analytical skills. •Computing Power and Speed. Lower cost data collection, better visualization tools, more computational power, more and faster integration of data, and real-time access to knowledge are now manager expectations…not wistful visions of a distant future. •New Perspectives on Established Research Methodologies. Older tools and methodologies, once limited to exploratory research, are gaining wider acceptance in dealing with a wider range of managerial problems.
Business Planning Drives Business Research An organization’s mission drives its business goals, strategies, and tactics and, consequently, its need for business decision support systems and business intelligence. Hierarchy of Business Decision Makers Visionaries, Standardized Decision Makers, Intuitive Decision Makers •In the bottom tier, most decisions are based on past experience or instinct. Decisions are also supported with secondary data searches. •In the middle tier, some decisions are based on business research. •In the top tier, every decision is guided by business research.
Firms develop proprietary methodologies and are innovative in their combination of methodologies. There is access to research data and findings throughout the organization. Research May Not Be Necessary Business research is only valuable when it helps management make better decisions. A study may be interesting, but if it does not help improve decision-making, its use should be questioned. Research could be appropriate for some problems, but insufficient resources may limit usefulness. Information Value Chain Computers and telecommunications lowered the costs of data collection. Data management is now possible and necessary given the quantity of raw data. •Models reflect the behavior of individuals, households, and industries. •A DSS integrates data management techniques, models, and analytical tools to support decision making. •Data must be more than timely and standardized; it must be meaningful. These are all characteristics of the information value chain. Characteristics of Good Research Clearly defined purpose, detailed research process, thoroughly planned design, high ethical standards, limitations addressed, adequate analysis, unambiguous presentation, conclusions justified, credentials
How the Research Industry Works Some Organizations Use Internal Research Sources; Internal researchers are “in-house. ” Some Organizations Use External Research Sources; External research suppliers can be further classified into business research firms, communication agencies, consultants, and trade associations. Business Research Firms Business research firms may be full-service or specialty-based. •Full-service firms conduct all phases of research from planning to insight development. They may offer custom projects tailored to a client’s needs and/or proprietary work. Proprietary methodologies are programs or techniques that are owned by a single firm. •Specialty firms establish expertise in one or a few research methodologies. They represent the largest number of research firms and tend to dominate the small research firms operated by a single research firm or a very small staff. •Syndicated data providers track the change of one or more measures over time, usually in a given industry. •Some research firms offer omnibus studies that combine one or a few questions from several business decision makers who need information from the same population.
CHAPTER 2 – ETHICS IN BUSINESS RESEARCH Ethical Treatment of Participants Research must be designed so that a participant does not suffer physical harm, discomfort, pain, embarrassment, or loss of privacy. This slide lists the three guidelines researchers should follow to protect participants. When discussing benefits, the researcher should be careful not to overstate or understate the benefits. Informed consent means that the participant has given full consent to participation after receiving full disclosure of the procedures of the proposed study.
Characteristics of Informed Consent Since 1966, all projects with federal funding are required to be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). An IRB evaluates the risks and benefits of proposed research. The review requirement may be more relaxed for projects that are unlikely to be risky – such as marketing research projects. Many institutions require that all research – whether funded or unfunded by the federal government – be reviewed by a local IRB. The IRBs concentrate on two areas. First is the guarantee of obtaining complete, informed consent from participants.
The second is the risk assessment and benefit analysis review. Complete informed consent has four characteristics and these are named in the slide. 1. The participant must be competent to give consent. 2. Consent must be voluntary, and free from coercion. 3. Participants must be adequately informed to make a decision. 4. Participants should know the possible risks or outcomes associated with the research. Ethical Responsibilities Special consideration is necessary when researching the behavior and attitudes of children.
Besides providing informed consent, parents are often interviewed during the selection process to ensure that the child is mature enough and has the verbal and physical capabilities necessary. Deception Disguising non-research activities. Camouflaging true research objectives. Debriefing Explain any deception, Describe purpose, Share results, Provide follow-up. In situations where participants are intentionally or accidentally deceived, they should be debriefed once the research is complete. Debriefing describes the goals of the research, as well as the truth and reasons for any deception.
Results are shared after the study is complete. Participants who require any medical or psychological follow-up attention will receive it during the debriefing process. Right to Privacy Right to refuse, prior permission to interview, limit time required. Data Mining Ethics The convenience of collecting data online has created new ethical issues. Data mining offers infinite possibilities for research abuse. The primary ethical data mining issues in cyberspace are privacy-related including consent to information collection and control of information dissemination.
Legitimate data miners publicly post their information security policies. The EU countries have passed the European Commission’s data protection directive. Under the directive, commissioners can prosecute companies and block Web sites that fail to live up to its strict privacy standards. Confidentiality Sponsor nondisclosure, purpose nondisclosure, findings nondisclosure Ethics And The Sponsor Occasionally, researchers may be asked by sponsors to participate in unethical behavior. What can the researcher do to remain ethical? There are four suggestions provided in the slide.
The researcher can attempt to 1. ducate the sponsor to the purpose of the research, 2. explain the researcher’s role as a fact-finder, 3. explain how distorting the truth or breaking faith will lead to future problems, and 4. if the others fail, terminate the relationship. Effective Codes of Ethics Many organizations have codes of ethics. A code of ethics is an organization’s codified set of norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about research behavior. Effective codes are those that 1) are regulative, 2) protect the public interest and the interests of the profession served by the code, 3) are behavior-specific, and 4) are enforceable.