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    business research project

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    Locate a project within a business, to include non-profit and charitable organizations, government (and military) units, or any other type of cooperative work group you'd like to nominate.
    -Your current or former workplace.
    -A client organization, such as a supplier.
    -A customer organization, or a customer group.
    -A work-related organization, such as a union or industrial organization

    What is your organization? What does it do?
    Identify at least one, but no more than three, important problems facing the organization. Some suggestions: Employee job satisfaction, productivity, turnover, morale, training, training effectiveness, citizenship behaviors, training and training effectiveness. As we will see, these are the areas within which we will be defining your DEPENDENT VARIABLES (DVs) -- that is, the things that we'd like to change or improve.
    For each DV, identify at least one factor that is probably having either a negative effect, or a less-than-optimal positive effect on it. Examples: environmental factors (heat, noise pollution), pay, training, performance appraisal procedures or lack thereof, occupational stress, and supervisory styles. These are the areas from which we'll identify your INDEPENDENT VARIABLES (IVs) - things that we might be able to change or manipulate, or at least observe to be stystematically varying.
    State how it could benefit the organization if the exact relationships between one or more problem areas (DVs) and one or more presumed causes or sources of those problems (IVs) could be identified. Example: If noise (the IV) is increasing employee turnover (the DV), then it may be cost-effective to invest in sound-suppressing panels and ceiling tiles.

    -Characterize your variables in terms of (1) level of measurement (2) level of analysis, and (3) whether each of them is a DV, IV, MV, of EV. Don't worry about operationalizing the variables at this point.
    -State your research questions in terms of testable hypotheses. As mentioned above, the preferred format is as follows: "(DV) is (positively / negatively) correlated with (IV)." There must be a separate hypothesis for each combination of DV and IV. JUSTIFY each hypothesis, on the basis of what you've read and/or observed, either in this or in some other organization.

    The second bullet above deserves additional explanation, and an extended example. Suppose the DVs are job satisfaction and intention to quit, while the IVs are job tenure (time on the job) and pay. You think that tenure and pay are predictors of satisfaction, but only tenure is a predictor of intention to quit. Further, you think that higher pay and longer tenure are related to higher levels of job satisfaction, and that longer tenure is related to a decreased intention to quit. Your hypotheses would then be:

    H1: Pay is positively correlated with job satisfaction.
    H2: Tenure is positively correlated with job satisfaction.
    H3: Tenure is negatively correlated with intention to quit.
    Be sure to provide precise and detailed arguments in support of each of your hypotheses. Avoid statements such as, "it is commonly known that" or "it is obvious that." Few things are commonly known, and even fewer things are obvious. Whenever possible, cite concrete examples supporting your hypothesis. Example: If Outward Bound training increased productivity in companies A, B, and C, it is reasonable to hypothesize that it will have the same effect in your company (assuming that A, B, C, and your company are all reasonably similar in terms of structure, culture, and other key variables.)

    The next step is to operationalize the variables in your project. review part 3 attachment for help.

    Exactly how will you measure them? Explain in detail why you chose each type of operationalization. For example, if you choose to ask for age by cohort (e.g., "below 21; 21 through 30; 31 through 40; "etc.) instead of simply asking the subject to write down his or her age, then you should explain why.

    It is common practice to collect demographic variables, such as age, gender, education level, years on the job, etc. (In statistical terms, which I'll mention but not explain, these data are useful as controls and possible covariates. Besides, people expect to answer some questions like these.) Which demographic variables do you intend to collect? Why?

    Do any of your variables consist of attitudes or opinions? If so, describe the items and scales you will use to measure each of them. You can either search the Web for appropriate scales (always a good idea), or take a swing at writing your own items and building your own scales. Be sure to refer back to the principles covered on the Module Homepage, and in the Background Info.

    If any of your variables involve organizational data or archival data to be obtained by methods other than surveying individual respondents, please identify them clearly as such. These data can be very helpful, but need to be managed carefully and analyzed in special ways.

    Describe and justify the sampling scheme you intend to utilize. Refer to the Module Homepage and background materials. Bear this in mind, though: If you collect data from all, or most, members of your organization, then you're not sampling at all. If that's the case, then just say so, and move on.

    Develop a short quantitative survey integrated with the rest of your design. In part three, you defined a number of variables in operational terms that were critical to your study. Since you are pursuing the quantitative path, you need to maximize the ability of your instrument to gather numerical data. Exactly what you gather will depend, of course, on what your variables are. They may be interval variables, or they may be categorical variables that you decide to code the categories with numbers so as to facilitate computer analysis. Since you're committed to this path, you may find that you have some variables operationalized in terms that are hard to quantify. In this case, you are allowed to adjust your operational definitions so as to be able to gather the kind of numerical data you need.

    Some of the measures may be gathered from organizational records or other archives. Anything involving financial information is likely to come from these sources. It is likely that you will need to survey some respondents regarding other variables, particularly anything having to do with attitudes or ideas. If you're measuring behavior, there may be some organizational records documenting behavior that you can draw upon, or you may choose to measure behavior according to reports by respondents, either on their behavior or the behavior of others. Basically, what you're doing here is thinking about how you could measure what it is that you defined as operationally interesting about each variable - what you're measuring, and what the best source of such data would be. You need to pay attention to the availability of the data; some data are highly confidential and unlikely to be released by a company, while some personal information is likely to be quite sensitive and unlikely to be released by individuals possessing it. If you have such sensitive data in your study, think carefully about the chances of actually obtaining it.

    For this part, you are to prepare a data collection plan for your study. The first part deals with non-survey data. If you are working with any archival or non-survey data, you need to set forth for each variable:

    -Name and operational definition of the variable
    -Source(s) from which the data are to be obtained
    -Who will provide the data
    -In what form you will receive it
    -Any concerns or problems that you anticipate with collection of this information

    All that remains is to sell the research project to the people who need to approve it. These are the senior managers in your organization. Don't forget, conducting research in an organization is not without costs. Employees are distracted from their work. Expensive time is consumed. If not properly designed, the project may create more problems than it solves, in terms of increased awareness and higher expectations.

    Your "sales pitch" will take the form of a PowerPoint presentation consisting of not more than 10 slides, designed to be presented in not more than 20 minutes.

    When preparing your presentation, keep the following points in mind:

    Avoid distracting formats, fonts, and special effects. Don't use voice-overs or animations. Such things are distracting, time-consuming, and take up too much bandwidth.

    Use outline format, with numbered lists, bullets, and sentence fragments. Do NOT put whole paragraphs of text on your slides. The slides are meant to be lists of talking points supporting a stand-up presentation, and NOT an entire written report chopped up into ten pieces.

    The last entry on the last slide should ask your audience if they have any questions or comments.

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    Solution Preview

    The solution is in the attached document

    Part 1
    The organization is Boy Scouts of America, local council. The organization provides youth programs that are designed to develop aspects of character that lead to youth (boys and girls) becoming productive, responsible adults. This is accomplished through adult volunteer-led or adult-facilitated outdoor and community activities. Current problems the organization is facing are challenges in recruiting sufficient numbers of adult volunteers, competition for donor funds, with other community organizations and less than desired quality of inner city unit programs.
    Part 2
    The dependent variables that require change are:
    1. Level of recruitment-affected by lack of public awareness and recruitment focused mostly on parents of youth. If public awareness improves, the organization may be able to recruit more adult volunteers. "Even in a rural community or a local neighborhood, most people are preoccupied with their own lives and businesses. They may be aware of your organization, but unless they have a reason to pay attention, most of what they see and hear about you is only fleetingly noticed" (Ellis, 1998). Awareness means finding a way to get the attention of potential volunteer audiences.
    DV: level of recruitment IV: public awareness
    H1: public awareness is positively correlated to the level of recruitment (or number of new volunteer recruits).
    2. Donor funding- affected by economic conditions, when businesses limit or select only one or a few organizations to support. If businesses understand the importance of youth development, they may be more likely to donate and support the organization. "In the current economic recession, however, the competition for funds from these sources is fierce as some donors have tightened the purse strings on charitable contributions as part of overall budget cuts" (Professional Atlanta, nd).

    DV: Donor funding
    IV: economic conditions

    H2: The economy is positively correlated to funding.
    3. Inner ...

    Solution Summary

    Business research projects are examined. Customer organizations and work-related organizations are examined.