Corporate Responsibility In Creating Environmental Value Dissertation Methodology Example
Chapter 3. Research Approach
The proposed method for this study uses the qualitative method by gathering data through interviews. This method is promoted because the participants provide the contribution. The 20 participants will be chosen from project supervisors or managers responsible for the CSR/CER aspects of their company’s operations. By inviting employees from a number of different corporations, a comparison will be available for evaluating effectiveness. Also, it is hoped that the participants will offer a number of applications used in their organization to provide explanations for comparison of different experiences.
There are four classifications used for the size of businesses. It is important to coordinate the responses by the participants with the size of the company they work for due to constraints in budget, industry influence, international operations, and so on.
Chapter 4. Methodology
This chapter will describe the method planned for performing the thesis, the reason for the choice of topic, the research method chosen, plans for collecting data from primary and secondary sources, ethical consideration, and methods of analysis proposed.
4.1 Choice of Topic
The choice of topic is crucial to writing the thesis of this paper. Fisher and Buglear (2010) provide criteria for selecting the topic of a paper in order for it to be of interest to an external audience as well as to the researcher. The topic for this thesis is to determine if a company can participate in activities related to corporate environmental and social responsibilities without affecting the profitability of the organization. As investors and potential top employees become more interested in the selection of a corporation actively involved in environmental and social issues, organizations should not have to choose between the interests of the stockholders (profitability) and those of external interests (pollution and societal shortcomings).
The government places regulations on corporations to force a degree of responsibility for pollution or impact on society. However, if a company is using child labor in another country that does not have regulations against it, there are no legal repercussions. If laws become too stringent in terms of pollution control, the company has the option of moving operations to a country that does not have the amount of control. The public is becoming more aware of the pollution created by industry and organizations are demanding accountability. The thesis of the paper is to determine if corporate attitude wants to actively address CSR/CER voluntarily or will only do so if mandated.
In addition, Fisher and Buglear (2010) stated the importance of the permanence of the topic in order to be relevant in the future; the data and information collected should not face any deterioration over the length of the research. As the paper focuses on continuing global issues, the result and endurability of the data collected should not conflict with the problem mentioned.
The conclusion of the literature review is that companies involved in preventative measures against pollution were not required to decrease profitability in order to do so. The study by Al-Tuwaijri et al. (2004) reports a strong association between good financial performance and good eco-efficiency performance and the results are important for investors and managers alike. In addition, the concept of corporate social responsibility is harmonious with corporate financial success, particularly when frank reporting of activities with impact on the environment is included. Nakao et al. (2007) state that the ability to move into a market economy that is more eco-efficient is more likely when policies regarding environmental measures are based on accurate information.
4.2 Choice of Interviewees
Convincing people to participate in a study can be a daunting task. The sampling this paper would prefer to have is middle- and upper-level managers of any age and gender. While the age, job title, and gender is not a criteria for participation, the data gathered may be relevant when analyzing attitude toward CER/CSR, access to information, and influence in corporate policy. The information on age, gender, and job title will be attached to the data analysis by number identification in order to conform with the assurances of confidentiality and anonymity supplied to the participants. The purpose is to obtain information on corporate attitudes toward CER/CSR responsibility both from policies and opinions. In an effort to persuade participation, the researcher will attempt to conduct the interview at the convenience of the participant, respect anonymity, keep the survey short, and stress the importance of the findings.
Every attempt will be made to represent multiple classifications of corporations from small to large. Classification of the corporation will be based on the number of employees currently working at the company: 10 employees and under is a micro-enterprise, between 11 and 50 employees is a small business, 51 to 250 employees is a medium-sized enterprise, and over 250 employees is classified as a large enterprise. The designation of full- or part-time employment is not significant. The human resources department of the corporation should be able to find the number of employees within a short period of time upon request of the participant.
The researcher feels that if the corporate earnings were included in the definition, there would be less cooperation from potential participants to the study. Disclosure of finances is more confidential than the number of employees working in a company. In addition, the information should be a recent as possible; outside sources may be outdated.
4.3 Research Design
Determining a specific research design involves choosing the particular research questions to be answered in an attempt to answer the hypothesis of the study. The research design to be used for this paper is a qualitative methodology. This approach has the ability to be open and exploratory with the examination of people and their opinions concerning the meaning of CSR/CER activities in their corporative employer and interpreting the policies of the company (Creswell and Creswell, 2007).
There are three way to perform qualitative interviewing (Patton and Patton, 2002). First, there is the use of standardized, open-ended interviews. Second, the use of semi-structure interviews is possible. Third, using informal and conversational interviews is an option. Since we want to obtain information concerning the manager’s perspective on the CSR/CSR activities of their employer and possibly explanations in an attempt to understand the company’s attitude and actions, the qualitative method is the most appropriate type of this type of research; it evaluates the words and actions of the participants in description and narration to communicate their experiences (Marshall and Rossman, 1989). The researcher wants to use semi-structured, tape recorded interviews in an effort to address specific questions.
The research questions are semi-structured and open-ended to allow the managers to describe and possibly explain the company’s attitude and actions concerning CSR/CER. This aim to answer the question of whether the company feels profitability cannot be obtained if it adheres to standards and regulations of corporate responsibilities and if so, how the corporation does so. Unlike quantitative research, a qualitative research design searches for data from inside by being loosely structured and gives results in the form of descriptions and quotations (Amaratunga et al., 2002).
4.4 Data Collection
Information will be collected from both primary and secondary data. Methods possible for this type of research include interviews, observations with documentation, questionnaires, and panel discussions (Fisher and Buglear, 2010). The researcher opted to use interviews, but the other avenues are possible in future research. The interviews will be structured to attempt to address all the topics. They will be treated as conversations that the interviewer will use to draw out the subjects to be discussed by the participant. For primary data, the researcher will collect information from interviews with company managers. For secondary data, the researcher will find information from other reliable sources to support the thesis. “One way to provide more structure than in the completely unstructured, informal conversational interview, while maintaining a relatively high degree of flexibility, is to use the interview guide strategy” (Patton as cited in Rubin & Babbie, 2001, p. 407). Structure allows completion of the topics rather than just the ones the participants wants to address. It also facilitates the organization and analyzing of the data, promoting understanding of the interview methods and instrument used by readers of the research report.
Data collection will also be the review of documents related to communities, projects, and organizations included in the study. This can include both electronic and hard-copies of publications.
Primary data: Interviews
The study requires data that allows an understanding of the perception of managers of the CSR/CER attitude and activities of their employers. In order to obtain that data, the method chosen needs to help generate it. The use of interviews as the primary approach will help reach the goals of the study as we will have first-hand personal experiences of the participants as the basis to answer questions of the project. It is also believed the answers will allow a broader perspective of the situation than other methods.
In regards to qualitative research, the semi-structured interview is one of the most effective tools for gathering data with the possibility of obtaining insights through the attitudes, feelings, values, and opinions of the participants (May, 2001). With this type of interview, the interviewer has a set of questions but intends for the situation to be conversational to allow for ease of interaction. By the interviewer changing the order of the questions, supplying more explanations, and leaving out questions the participant may have already answered, in-depth information can be acquired (Rubin and Rubin, 1995).
This type of interview is suitable as the interviewer looks for an opportunity to encourage the participants to reveal feelings and personal experience in order to understand his or her opinion regarding the thesis of the study rather than generalizations about corporate behavior. Toward this goal, the interviewer will attempt to build rapport with the participant; interviewers will start the discussion with a few general background questions of the participant while adhering to the guidelines for confidentiality. The interviewer may paraphrase questions or use other methods to encourage the participant into revealing pertinent information and provide coherence in the discussion (Bernard, 2006). Interview questions are presented in Appendix A.
In order to conduct a full analysis of collected data, tape recording will be used after verbal permission of the participant. The interviewer will also attempt to pay attention to pertinent gestures, jokes, tone of voice, body language, and so on. The interviews will be conducted in English.
Secondary Data: Researched Sources
Secondary data will be collected by searching online databanks, academic literature, recent journal articles, and other reliable information sources which will support the value of the findings from the interviews. The researcher will assure the sources will be relevant, trustworthy, and reliable. The advantage of using secondary data to support the findings is more efficient in terms of money and time that collecting more primary data (Ober, 2007).
The secondary data for the study will be related to general information on corporate responsibility concerning the environment and society, specific information from organizations committed to improving these issue, and articles addressing the company results and programs.
Data analysis techniques and procedures for qualitative research use purposive sampling rather than random sampling. The interviews strive for quality rather than quantity by becoming saturated with information (Padget, 1998). The analysis of interview transcripts is based on an inductive approach to the patterns that emerge from the data after the interview (Patton and Patton, 2002). The grounded theory method will be used because it is verified through the collection of the data systematically and analyzed specifically in relation to the thesis (Strauss and Corbin, 1990).
Data will be analyzed using the constant comparative method (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). Each sentence and paragraph segment in the transcribed interviews will be reviewed to find similarities, patterns, and differences. Themes should emerge by making associations with interview questions combined with topic familiarity based on the literature review. The themes will combine with theory to become the major findings of the study.
Qualitative Data Analysis Programs
There are a number of qualitative data analysis (QDA) programs available including NVivo, ATLAS.ti, HyperQual, NUD*IST, HyperRESEARCH, and The Ethnograph. The decision on the final method to be used will be made after consultation with authorities following data collection.
4.5 Ethical considerations
When conducting the study, ethical considerations will be emphasized from the beginning to the finish. Participants will be informed in advance about the researcher’s identity, the goals and importance of the research, and why the type of data we are collecting is relevant. All participants will be treated with respect and consideration. Interviewers will be neutral and noncommittal during the interactions without passing judgment on answers to becoming involved on a personal basis. The real identities of the participants will not be revealed in any part of the study and every measure will be taken to ensure complete confidentiality and anonymity. All participants will have the right to withdraw at any time and negate the data collected.
4.6 Validity and Reliability
Validity is the extent to which out research describes the ways we are going to measure the data collected or explains what we are measuring. In terms of reliability, we want to create findings that will demonstrate the same answer on different occasions if the study is replicated. Qualitative research is less concerned with reliability because investigates situations that are common. The research does not address a particular attribute over a large population, but shared opinions concerning a particular circumstance (Willig, 2008).
In this study, the collected data will probably not represent the perspective of all managers on the issue, but the selection is random and the interviews are trying to find the individual managers’ opinions of corporate behavior rather than make a generalization for all managers. For primary data, we collect the information by using the qualitative method through the interviews. The validity is more important in this aspect because the study is seeking to find both the manager’s opinions and correlate them with the size and behavior of the company. Relevant articles were reviewed and theoretical input from textbooks provided interview questions. For secondary data, we will use reliable sources from internet databases, journals, articles, and textbooks and evaluate them for preciseness of data. Therefore, both primary and secondary data will be determined to be reliable for the study.
4.7 Limitations of the Study
The study should expand literature related to the subject of corporate environmental and social responsibilities and the impact on implementation of programs to address them. It is hopeful that policy makers for corporations see the advantages for positive change in their operations, organizations involved in environmental and social reform can use the findings to persuade involvement, and investors and the most promising new graduates will include CSR/CER as part of their criteria for partnerships.
A major threat to trustworthiness could be the bias of the participants. Regardless of emphasis on confidentiality, they may still feel compelled to provide answers placing their employer in a favorable light. Conversely, a grudge against their employer may provide answers designed to place the company in a bad light. The research report will include efforts to reduce bias and collect and analyze empirical evidence.
One way to combat bias is to be sure all the questions are answered in the interview. Questionnaires often allow for partial answering of questions. The type of interview used for this study allows the interviewer to encourage elaboration if he or she feels there is not a sufficient answer supplied. In addition, leads for asking more appropriate questions may surface and function as improvements on follow-up studies. Supplemental documents such as questionnaires can add more information to interview data and may also be included in future research.
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