Dissertation Methodology On Marketing Managers And Ethical Role Conflicts: Methodology
Choosing a suitable research design is crucial for enhancing research success. That is in consideration of the research topic and question as well as the participants involved. Thus, a suitable design is necessary for identifying the appropriate data collection, analysis criteria as well as the sampling techniques. In that view, the report presents a methodology for analyzing marketing managers role conflicts within organizational cultures and different market orientation. The methodology outlines the study’s objectives and the research question. It also explains the research design and the data collection, as well as sampling techniques, involved. Further, the analysis method is explained in addition to the study’s ethical and political dimensions. Finally, the study’s weaknesses are explained.
Study Objective and question
In reference to the study topic of marketing managers and ethical role conflicts, the research will be seeking to achieve two objectives including
Identifying marketing managers’ experience with ethical role conflicts.
Identify how the managers address the conflicts within different organizational culture and market orientations.
In that respect, the research will be seeking to answer the question “How do marketing managers experience and handle role conflicts when they appear in the nexus of organizational culture, personal ethics, and the ethics of market orientation?”
Research design overview
The study will apply qualitative design that is extensively used by researchers and scientist studying human habits and behaviors. That is because this analysis focuses on the experiences and behavior of marketing managers with respect to the ethical conflicts that they face as individuals, in organizational cultures and markets orientation. The method is often regarded as a precursor of quantitative research. That is because it is often used in generating ideas and leads that are possible to formulate and test the hypothesis. For these reasons, mathematical analysis, and comprehensive hypothesis testing with qualitative methods are closely allied with interviews, individual case studies and survey techniques. It also acts as a reinforcement and a tool for finding evolution on a broader scale. (Charmaz, 2006, 101)
The qualitative research design is the most flexible of all techniques, encompassing acceptable and variety structures as well as methods for analyzing various aspects. From case studies on individuals to extensive interviews, careful designing and construction is needed but does not have a standardized structure hence providing the analysis with flexibility. That will be necessary for this case as it involves a phenomena’s description. The method is also commonly associated with interviews that will be crucial in collecting information for this analysis.
In that view, qualitative data have several positive features including its provision of natural occurring information that allows researchers to increase understanding of a phenomenon. In addition, the data tends to be collected in proximity to the situation via an interview, with the local context being considered rather than being ignored as in the case of quantitative technique. Qualitative data also have strong potential for revealing complexities that yield rich descriptions of a phenomenon. Further, qualitative data is often collected over a long period, allowing for longitudinal analysis of institutional, historical and psychological, as well as social processes. The data is most suitable as it can be used in strengthening quantitative and intervention research designs.
In addition, qualitative techniques are extremely useful when a yes or no answer is too simple for a too complex subject or when no hypothesis is available as, in this case. It is also crucial to note that the designs are easier to carry out and plan. Also, when budgeting has to be taken into account as in this research; where funds are limited, the method is less costly. The design’s broader scope coverage also ensures that useful data is always generated, and improved towards the hypothesis. That is in comparison with quantitative research that depends on sample sizes that are in turn dependent on methods of quantities that are not applicable, in this case. Finally, a study with a small sample can generate meaningful results with qualitative research compared to quantitative research hence the technique will be useful in analyzing a few marketing managers’ experiences from a high population of all marketing managers. (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe & Lowe, 2008, 70)
The approach will use techniques in which the inquirer will ask general and broad questions to participants while collecting views and details in the form of written and spoken words and line with the needed empirical materials. It will also entail exploring the phenomena central to the marketing managers ethical role conflicts. (Charmaz, 2006, 92)
Needed empirical materials
Qualitative studies data describes the characteristics or qualities of something. Thus, it cannot deduce numbers description –as with quantitative research. Given that the study will involve analyzing human behaviors, details on personality and emotional characteristics that the quantitative research cannot match, description information will be used. In that view, data will include users’ information about ethical conflicts’ experiences and information essential to analyzing the managers’ responses. Thus, the qualitative research will take a naturalistic form such as structured interviews and focus groups in which researchers will document opinions, behaviours, needs, patterns, point of pain and other information in written and spoken words.
Data collection methods
Data collection will be done by primary methods including interviews and focus groups discussions. The methods will be suitable considering the need to capture participants’ environment and reactions. That is because the methods involve direct interaction with respondents and the groups’ participants. The two methods are summarized as follows
Interviews will follow standard rules, protocols and will seek to minimize bias. They will be organized in respondents’ places of work, and the researchers will visit them during a scheduled time. During the interviews, spoken and written words will be recorded for the purpose of quantification and analysis. In addition, they will take the form of structured interviews that involves asking same questions the same way to all respondents in a tightly structured schedule that will limit response range. (Valerie, 1994, 215)
The interviews will make participants feel the interaction as a discussion rather than a formal answer question conversation. Thus, it will be an in-depth interview that will be more like a conversation than a formal response predicament event. Further, the participants’ perspectives about the phenomena will be theirs and not of the researcher. A few general topics will be explored by the interviewer to uncover participants’ views and how they structure and flame responses. Further, ethical practices will determine the interviews’ success, in addition, to quickly yielding necessary information. Finally, clarifications and immediate follow-ups will be possible with interviews. (Stenbacka, 2001, 554)
Focus groups will also be used to collect information, as they will involve comparing perspectives in a group; better that considering individual's views. The method will be used because of limited resources including manpower, finances, and time. In addition, the collective discussion of the phenomena is crucial for a better understanding of behaviors, circumstances, and opinions. Finally, greater dynamic insights can be deduced from discussions compared to alternative methods such as questionnaires or secondary data collection. The focus groups will be as follows.
Smaller groups of five are limiting the number of the groups to ten. That will increase the groups’ focus to avoid idiosyncratic results and increase depth and breadth.
The group members should have a common aspect of relevance to the investigator. Thus, the groups will be divided into five categories representing different organizational cultures, market orientation, and personal ethics. Each category has two groups. (Linhorst, 2002, 218)
The sampling method applied for the case begins with the identification of marketing personnel as the respondents and the study’ population. Then the particular persons chosen are the marketing managers because they are the decision makers that have an impact on marketing. Further, they are in a position to understand a firm’s culture, as well as the market orientation with reference to their products and services. In that view; two sampling methods will be applied; one for the interview respondents and the other for the focus groups’ members’ selection.
Purposeful Random Sampling
The method is applied to select the managers who will act as the population’s representatives. They will have to meet the population criteria as decision makers in marketing facing ethical rules given organizational ethics, culture, and markets orientation. The random sampling will be applied for marketing managers within the US. (Valerie, 1994, 213)
Sampling for focus group discussions
The sampling method considers that there will be ten focus groups that will be used for contrasting marketing managers’ experiences and responses to conflicts in different cultures, as well as market orientations. The method limits the focus groups’ membership to five comprising of the managers sharing cultural background as well as same market orientations. In addition, ensuring representation and validity will require two groups for each population with the five population types comprising different market orientation, organization cultures, and ethics. The two groups’ for each population will serve the purpose of identifying whether their responses are in agreement before contrasting them with those of the other groups. That will be a means of enhancing the validity by ensuring same groups represent similar characteristics. (Patton, 2001, 49)
With the qualitative method, numbers will not be involved in the initial stage but will include a description of behaviors, emotions, attitude and thoughts that are difficult to count. Thus, uncovering the experiences will be directed towards the how and what questions. However, the data will be later converted into numbers using the linker scale for statistical analysis purposes. In that respect, the participants’ information will be quantified and analyzed using basic statistics. That will involve using measures such as percentages, average and mode for analyzing trends in marketing roles’ ethical conflicts and responses by the marketing managers. Finally, the method will provide insights for solving issues related to the ethical role conflicts experienced by marketing managers and other stakeholders. (Krueger & Casey, 2000, 32)
Validity and Reliability
Qualitative research is an umbrella term representing a variety of approaches that have certain common elements. Thus, qualitative researchers are not interested in causal laws as the quantitative researchers are, but in people’s perspectives, belief, and experiences as well as meaning systems. In that view, the Methods to be used are more subjective than those in quantitative research as they do not include much statistical analysis as well as empirical calculations. The researched phenomena will thus be viewed in a holistic manner and a social context. The reliability and validity of the research method are summarized as follows
Validity is concerned with truthfulness and accuracy of the research findings. A valid study demonstrates what exists and should use valid instruments and measures. Thus, validity refers to the extent to which the research findings are a true reflection of the reality rather than being extraneous variables. To ensure the research’s validity, the study results will be compared with past findings. In addition, use of appropriate sampling techniques that suit the population will be used as a means of enhancing the findings validity. (Patton, 2002, 40)
It is concerned with the consistency of research findings as well as the repeatability and stability of the participant's accounts in addition to the investigators’ ability to accurately collect and record information. Thus, it is the ability to yield same results consistently in repeated analysis. It will be addressed by the researchers using comparable methods to obtain results for the two focus groups representing same cultural, individual and market orientation aspects. (Valerie, 1994, 217)
Research design’s ethical and political dimensions
Research requires consideration of the process ethical implications as well as the ethical issues related to the findings use. In that respect, researchers should ensure that all ethical issues are addressed to guard against undesired practices. In the research, ethical issues will be addressed in various ways including evaluating the participant's rights to privacy and avoiding undesirable acts such as manipulation. Researchers will also try to minimize risks to participants and society while attempting to maximize the quality of information they will produce. Those risks could involve the disclosure of the participants’ identities and personal details as well as use of the collected information for unfair competition.
In addition, there will be use of an informal letter of consent. The consent letter will do several things. It will let respondents know about the project and the role they will play in it. The letter should also be detailed enough for participants to be informed about the nature of the project, including any risks; in addition, to outlining how their participation will contribute to the project’s goals. It will also ensure that participants can follow up with questions or concerns they could have about the project by providing them with information on the people they can contact. It will also ensure that the participants know their agreement to participate is voluntary, and they are free to opt out of their participation at any time. It will also be clear to them about how the information will be used. Finally, it will let them know the level of confidentiality provided once they participate. (Patton, 2001, 65)
The political dimension of the research regards to the uses that the findings can be put into. That involves the possible use of the findings in developing governance policies, and codes that would seek to address conflicts within the marketing profession. In addition, the findings will be useful for the industry application in terms of understanding best practices by marketing managers in the face of the roles ethical conflicts. However, the study also considers the possible implications of the findings’ use such as in unfair competition. That could happen if businesses accessed information on their competitors’ practices. Thus, there will be a great need to limit the information disclosure.
In addition, the required cross- cultural design for the research given the different organizational cultures considered comes from the researchers’ understanding of the cultures within which they will be working. For academic research, training and education on cross-cultural research will be necessary and this will include learning about the participants’ culture, language, custom, history, aspiration, and expectations as a means of conducting interviews in line with their values and norms. Further, intolerance of cultural values or norms coming from multiculturalism perspectives is an unethical behavior and will be avoided. Multiculturalism’s main challenge is human beings relative nature, but high tolerance degree must be maintained. (Patton, 2002, 15)
Designs potential weaknesses
Given the choice of the qualitative research design, it is notable that the method has potential weaknesses that need to be considered and addressed where possible. The weaknesses include those related to the selected sampling techniques, data collection as well as analysis. Thus, although qualitative methods are not resource and time-consuming, they require careful planning and thought to ensure the accuracy and the results’ validity. In addition, the qualitative data cannot be analyzed mathematically and comprehensively like the quantitative data thus can only provide a description of a general trend. It is also much exposed to personal judgment & opinion hence cannot give very reliable results. Further, the design is unique and cannot be recreated due to its inability to replicate. (Easterby-Smith e al, 2008, 21)
Qualitative researchers perform their analysis looking for trends. For the researchers to identify the trend, they look across different participants for statements that are identical. The identified trends can then be used in the development of decisions for an organization or market strategies. Because these trends cannot be subjected to statistical analysis, trends cannot be validated by calculating size effect or a p- value as quantitative data could be validated thus qualitative research must be applied with care. Also, such data should be continuously validated through a continuous quantitative research program. (Bryman & Bell, 2007, 35)
It could also require behavioral coding activity, which involves assigning numerical identifiers of qualitative behavior, but those procedures are expensive. However, it would be useful in transforming them into quantitative data that can then be subjected to statistical analysis. Behavioral coding in addition to the analysis described earlier lets one perform a number of additional analyzes like lag sequential analysis. That is a statistical test aimed at identifying the behavior’s sequence. However, it is expensive and consumes much time to apply behavioral codes and requires researchers who are highly trained and qualified to encode behaviors. Thus, the method is costly and a challenge to the project’s budgeting. (Valerie, 1994, 217)
Additionally as it is impossible to automate effectively qualitative- data collection as in quantitative data collection, the method is both highly time consuming and expensive in gathering of large amount of data compared with the relatively cheap quantitative studies. Thus, the technique is only applicable to small samples, unlike the quantitative research that can be performed on hundreds or even thousands of participants. As a result, quantitative methods tend to have more statistical power as compared to qualitative research in discovering and verification of trends. (Patton, 2002, 28)
There are also possible weaknesses and limitations with interviews. Such weaknesses include possible lack of cooperation that is essential to a qualitative research. Participants may be uncomfortable or may not be willing to share the entire information with the interviewer; they may also be unaware of the patterns recurring in their lives that are crucial to experiences and behavioral analysis. In addition, the interviewer may fail to ask questions that will evoke the participants to have long narratives. That would result from lack of familiarity with the language used or lack of experience. On the same note, the interviewer may not properly comprehend the response to the questions or various conversation elements.
The research design also requires good listening skills as well as knowledge in questions flaming, personal interaction in general as well as elaboration probing. Interviewing is also time-consuming in addition to having data quality issues. Further, the in-depth interviews used for gathering data for the research could involve demonstration by the interviewer through the conceptual framework. That would limit the study’s purpose to uncover the participants’ events and perspectives hence resulting in bias. Further, more objective assumptions made in the study with use of only primary data would lack triangulation hence limit reliability. Finally, the researcher may use the interview thoughtlessly as it could seem like a natural conversation hence using it in an under-theorized manner. (Bryman & Bell, 2007, 40)
In view of the methodology, qualitative research will be carried out with a view to identifying how marketing managers experience and address ethical role conflicts in their organizational culture, personal as well as market orientation. The method has been identified as suitable owing to the nature of the information collected. It has also been identified that information will be quantified by application of the liter scale for the purpose of basic statistical analysis. The analysis will apply measures such as frequencies, percentages, average as well as a mode. In respect to data collection, interviews and focus groups will be used owing to the need to collect the information directly from the sample. The samples will be selected by purposefully random sampling for the interviews as well as stratified sampling for the focus groups. The research’s validity will be ensured with the use of appropriate sampling and data collection methods. On the other note, reliability will be enhanced by the use of several focus groups in each aspect, including different organizational cultures and market orientations. Further, the methodology considers participants’ ethical backgrounds and also seeks to ensure ethical practices in terms of information access and use. However, although the qualitative design has been identified as the most suitable, some limitations such as limited generalization and quantification have been identified. In addition, the primary data collection methods are expensive and time-consuming compared with alternative methods such as questionnaires.
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