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Free Radiology Research Study Critique

Critique: Research Study Radiology

1. Citation

Upton, D. & Upton , P. (2006). Knowledge and Use of Evidence-based practice by allied health and health science professionals in the United Kingdom. Journal of Allied Health, 35:3, 127-133

2. Study Purpose

The following critically reviews a paper by Upton and Upton (2006), concerned with clinical effectiveness (CE) and evidence-based practice (EBP) and the differences between them amongst different professional groups. It compares 14 different groups in terms of how they understand and implement CE and EBP. Evidence-based practice is the application by health care professionals of the most appropriate research evidence to clinical situations, taking into account the whole context in which they operate, including the client’s needs (Hoffman et al 2009). Clinical effectiveness, according to the Department of Health (1996) is “the extent to which specific clinical interventions, when deployed in the field for a particular patient or population, do what they are intended to do” (DoH 1996; cited Hamer and Collinson 2005).Upton and Upton suggest that the differences between these concepts in different fields has, so far, been under researched.

3. Literature

Upton and Upton’s literature review is fairly short, and forms part of the introduction. While it might be slightly clearer to separate this out from other areas covered in the introduction, this seems a fairly standard academic practice. The review does not explain what either CE or EBP are, nor of the history of the terms. While this might be superfluous to the paper, and while the author’s might assume the expected audience will be familiar with the terms already, the term, EBP, for example is, to some extent, ambiguous (Roberts and Yeager 2004), and a statement here, rather than later of the definition used would have been welcome.

The bulk of the review looks at existing research which explores “the views and knowledge of health care professionals toward EBP” (Upton and Upton 2006), pointing out that they mainly concern medical practitioners, with fewer looking at others including McCaughan et al (2002) (nurses) and Iqbal and Glenny (2002) (dental practitioners). They discuss the studies which, like theirs, do compare different professions (Palfreyman et al 2004; Metcalfe et al 2001). These find common features and differences between the groups: nurses, for example, rate their EBP abilities lower than physiotherapists. Not only are existing studies, few, their scope is limited and omits key areas of interest.

As such the literature review provides a good justification for Upton and Upton’s study, by showing the deficit of existing research. However, as an overview of the concepts of EBP and CE it is less successful. In addition it does not suggest a theoretical model to shape and give depth to the study, for example one which predicts differences between professional groups, like that of Gawlinski and Rutledge (2008), who suggest that different models of EBP meet different needs of differing clinical environments.

4. Approach and Methodology

The authors do not explicitly discuss the paradigm under which their research was carried out, and their ‘methodology’ section is only one paragraph. A paradigm is the approach to the research taken by researchers. Johnson and Christensen (2010) suggest that there are three major paradigms, qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods, each of which embraces a set of assumptions about epistemology and the nature of reality. Upton and Upton’s approach is quantitative, empiricist and positivist. Positivism was established by Comte in the early 19th Century, and assumes that the world is objective of human experience, and knowable through our senses.Empiricism is concerned with factual data, and empirical research’s ideal method is the scientific method, whereby clear hypotheses are formulated prior to research and are designed to be tested against empirical evidence. Data is primarily numerical, and outcomes are objective and measurable. This approach contrasts with a qualitative, interpretivist approach, which deals with text, subjectivity and the richness of experience (Tappen 2010). Given that Upton and Upton want to investigate an under-researched area, it is understandable why they used a quantitative approach, as it allows them to investigate a larger data set and draw more generalisable conclusions, and also give scope for assessing statistical significance. However, a qualitative approach would have allowed them to look in more detail at how different types of practitioner experienced EBP and CE, which would have added richness to the study.

5. Sample

Again, there is relatively little detail given by the authors here. They tell us that 1000 members of Allied Healthcare Professions (AHP) and Health Science Services (HSS) were selected, and that the sample represents the proportions of each practicing in the UK. While they assure us that ‘specific statistical methods were used to establish sample size’, there is little discussion of what these were or why they were selected over other possible methods. The authors are informative about the response rate (66.6%), and add that most were female, but there are other details about the sample which are not discussed, and which might have been useful to know. For example, how were participants contacted, and what was the wording used to ask them to take part There is potential for bias here, if the method of contact attracted practitioners who had had either predominantly bad or good experiences of EBP or CE. Postal questionnaires were used, and here the authors do discuss alternative methods, and give a reasonable justification for their choice. In addition, although the authors discuss gender, it might have been interesting to know more about participants. Was there bias towards older or younger respondents, or towards one or other social class They suggest there is a bias towards women, but as this represents the breakdown between men and women in the occupations overall, this does not seem to present a particular problem.

6. Data Collection

Data was collected by questionnaire, distributed by post. The authors used a questionnaire that had already been developed and tested, by Upton and Lewis (1998). Therefore the reliability and validity (whether the questionnaire gives the same results repeatedly, over time, and whether it tests what it sets out to test: Babbie 2008) had already been established. They also distinguish between content and face validity, and confirm that both are good for the questionnaire. Face validity is weaker than content validity, and confirms simply that an instrument seems to measure what it is intended to measure. Content validity covers the “full domain of the concept” and whether it measures all this domain (Rubin 2011). Upton and Upton give a fairly good breakdown of the content of the questionnaire, dividing their discussion into the sections contained in it, including demographics, respondent knowledge of CE and EBP, the extent to which respondents practice different aspects of CE and EBT, and barriers to implementation of EBP. For each, they explain the ways in which each aspect were assessed using an appropriate instrument.What is missing here is any discussion of why these instruments were selected over alternatives, and whether alternatives exist. Although Upton and Lewis’s (1998) instrument seems well regarded, there are also the ‘Evidence-Based Practice Beliefs Scale’ and ‘Evidence-Based Practice Implementation Scale’s (Melnyk et al 2008), and the ‘Evidence-Based Practice Attitude Scale (Aarons, 2004), for example (Rice et al 2010).

The authors give more detail about how participants were contacted here, via a ‘publicity notice’. This might give rise to bias, however, as those who were motivated to take part might well have stronger opinions about EBP and CE and want to express these. Other selection methods might have been considered. There is also no information about the length of time taken to distribute and collect the questionnaires, nor how long the respondents were given to complete them. A longer time might have led to more detailed results, but also to the possibility of other influences effecting responses. Because the questionnaires were distributed by post, there also seems to be little provision for dealing with problems which might be encountered by respondents while completing their forms.

7. Results and Discussion

The authors present their results in some detail, using both tables and written presentation, which makes the data easier to understand.Although they mention that the response rate was high, at 66.6%, some more detail about drop out rates would have been welcome here. For example, did the 66.6% represent the proportion of people who completed the full survey, or just a part of the survey?

The authors divide the discussion by question type, looking in turn at ‘knowledge of concepts and principles of CE and EBP’, ‘Reported use of EBP’, ‘Acting on evidence from a variety of sources’, and ‘barriers to the application of EBP’. This allows clarity in the discussion. They also explain the details of the results well, with a logical pattern of explanation. For example, they say that overall, knowledge of CE and EBP was low, and then give more detail showing there are clear distinctions between different professions, with more psychologists and physiotherapists rating their knowledge in the ‘high’ category than other professions including podiatrists and speech therapists. The authors also back up the intuitive reading of the results with statistical analyses, and note the drawback that small cell numbers in some cases prevent such a confirmation. For reported use of EBP, there are again differences between the professional groups, with a particular link between frequency with which gaps in knowledge are identified and profession. Other key findings in this, and subsequent sections, are clearly reported. There is a separate table for each sub-section of the questionnaire, and each is clear and easy to read. Because the tables (perhaps because of space constraints) summarise information across both the range of professions and for each aspect rated, it is not immediately obvious which professions are ranked higher for each aspect. Also, the tables summarise the aspects rather than using the verbatim wording, for example “monitoring own practice” and “critical analysis”. It might have been interesting to see the actual wording used in the questionnaire. In addition, while statistical information is presented more fully in the text, key information is missing from the tables, for example standard deviation in table 4. Similarly also, the discussion of ‘knowledge of the concepts and principles of CE and EBP’ includes a description of statistical tests including a one-way analysis of variance, but these results are not presented in the tables.

Even though the author’s sample size is relatively high, some cells were so small that certain categories had to be removed from the analysis, for example, orthoptists for ‘reported use of EBP’. This is unfortunate, as it means the full range of professions cannot be assessed for this category.

The authors also present a detailed and intelligent discussion of what the results mean.Their conclusions seem to be backed up by the results, for example, their initial claim that there are “some differences between professional groups in terms of knowledge base and self-reported use of CE and EBP”: this was discussed in the earlier results section. This summary is initially concerned to draw out key themes from the results section. They first suggest that while both HSS and AHP groups have low levels of knowledge, the lowest levels were from professionals from HSS groups. As well as reporting this, they suggest that this is due to the relatively recent introduction of the concept to these professionals, as well as differences in the extent to which each group are involved in day-to-day care of patients.This is interesting, but might the discussion might have had more depth had the differences between HSS and AHP been brought out in more detail during the literature review. They also do not give references for their claims about the differences between HSS and AHP groups, so there is no context for their discussion. However, this is a valuable discussion, as it suggests that part of the problem is the lack of an evidence base for certain professions including radiographers and podiatrists. This insight could be used to generate new practice in these professions.There are similarly useful discussions of other areas of the findings, for example the differences between groups’ ratings of EBP skills. The authors suggest that psychologists, for example, rate their skills higher due to a different emphasis put upon a degree during training. This again throws a useful light upon possible revisions to the way professions are managed. However, Upton and Upton’s discussion here is again marred by lack of reference to any other academic sources. This fruitful area must, surely, have already attracted academic discussion One positive here is that Upton and Upton do not simply stick to one possible explanation, but consider others, for example that respondents rating of their skills does not match their actual skill level.

Their discussions of other areas, for example application of EBP and barriers to its uptake, also display positive and negative features; bringing out key aspects of the results well, and providing interesting interpretations of these results, but with less referencing and relating the results to other academic research than might be useful. Overall, there could have been a little more discussion of overall themes that arose across sections, for example the need for better management of different professions with more uniform integration of EBP, and improved training in its use.

One final, positive point about the results and subsequent discussion is that the authors talk about methodological drawbacks, including those related to postal surveys (respondents may be less honest than with other research methods).They do not, however, consider other possible limitations, for example the lack of any qualitative data, which might have given a richer perspective on what respondents felt emotionally about using EBP and CE. They also do not discuss relationship of the data to any overarching theoretical framework, which might also have added depth to the study.

9. Conclusion and Clinical Implications

The author’s conclusion is perhaps rather short. They simply summarise their key finding, that there are ‘very apparent differences in the knowledge and use of CE and EBP by members of the AHP and HSS’, and that there were other, discipline-related, differences. This brevity is somewhat disappointing. They do not consider any practical implications for the research, nor whether it would be appropriate for AHP and HSS members to show equal levels of awareness and use of CE and EBP. Also, they do not make any suggestions for further research, although as they earlier remarked that there is a lack of study in this area, there is a clear need for such research, perhaps investigating differences between professions further, or looking at ways knowlegge and use of CE and EBP can be increased overall.

To summarise this paper, a critical analysis of a study by Upton and Upton (2006) has been presented, looking at all aspects of their work from introduction to discussion and conclusion. This is a paper with many interesting and well presented areas, but there are some negative points and areas which could be improved.

References

Aarons, G A (2004) ‘Mental health provider attitudes toward adoption of evidence based practice: The evidence-based practice attitude scale (EBPAS)’, Mental Health

Services Research, 6, 61-74

Babbie, E R (2008) The basics of social research (4th edn.) Cengage Learning, USA.

Department of Health (1996) Promoting clinical effectiveness a framework for action in and through the NHS, Department of Health, UK

Gawlinski, A and Rutledge, D (2008) ‘Selecting a model for evidence-based practice changes: a practical approach’, AACN Adv Crit Care, 19:3, 291-300.

Hamer, S and Collinson, G (2005) Achieving evidence-based practice: a handbook for practitioners (2nd edn.) Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia PA.

Hoffman, T, Bennett, S and Del Mar, C (2009) Evidence-Based Practice Across the Health Professions, Elsevier Australia, Australia.

Iqbal, A and Glenny A, M (2002) ‘General dental practitioners knowledge of and

attitudes towards evidence based practice’, Br Dent J, 193, 587–591

McCaughan, D, Thompson, C, and Cullum, N (2002) ‘Acute care nurses’

perceptions of barriers to using research information in clinical decision-

making’, J Adv Nurs 39:46–60.

Melnyk, B M, Fineout-Overholt, E, & Mays, M Z (2008) ‘The evidence-based practice beliefs and implementation scales: Psychometric properties of two new instruments’, Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 4, 208-216.

Metcalfe, CR, Lewin S, and Wisher S (2001) ‘Barriers to implementing the evidence base in four NHS therapies: dieticians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists’, Physiotherapy87:433–441.

Palfreyman, S, Tod, A and Doyle, J (2004) ‘Comparing evidence-based practice of

nurses and physiotherapists’, Br J Nurs, 1:246–253.

Rice, K, Hwang, J, Abrefa-Gyan, T and Powel, K (2010) ‘Evidence-Based Practice Questionnaire: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis in a Social Work Sample’, Advances in Social Work, 11:2, 158-173

Roberts, A R and Yeager, K (2004) Evidence-based practice manual: research and outcome measures in health and human services, Oxford University Press, Oxon.

Rubin, A (2011) Practitioner’s Guide to Using Research for Evidence-Based Practice, John Wiley and Sons, USA

Tappen, R (2010) Advanced Nursing Research: From Theory to Practice, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Sudbury MA

Upton, D and Lewis BK (1998) ‘Evidence based practice: a questionnaire to

assess knowledge, attitudes and practice’, Br J Ther Rehabil, 5, 647–650

Categories
Free Essays

Sample Research Proposal: VAT Compliance in the UK

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Income tax, National Insurance contributions, and Value Added Tax (VAT) contribute approximately two-thirds to total tax revenue in the Uk (Adam and Browne, 2009). VAT, which is a proportional tax paid on all sales, has become an important source of revenue in Britain, particularly as the government is under great pressures to raise revenue to ‘balance the budget’ (Adams and Webley, 2001). A business has to register for VAT when their taxable supplies in the last twelve month period surpass or are expected to surpass the current registration limit of ?70,000. The VAT is a flat rate scheme with a current rate of 17.5%, up from 15% (a rate which applicable from 01 December 2008 to 31 December 2009 as part of an economic stimulus package) (Adam and Browne, 2009). In addition to this flat tax that applies to the vast majority of goods and services purchased, there are a few items that are zero-rated, such as most foodstuff, exempt, such as health services and private education, and some with a lower rate of VAT (5%), such as baby car seats and domestic fuel and power (Adam and Browne, 2009). While items falling into these classes are not affected, the standard rate of VAT is set to increase to 20% from 4 January 2011.

Investigators have found that small businesses people believe that the present rate of 17.5% is too high and promotes negative feelings towards VAT and full compliance (Adams and Webley, 2001). Given the increase in January 2010, what will be the impact on compliance ratesThis is an important issue, since research shows that VAT is more efficiently collected when VAT rates are low (de Mello, 2009). While the level of tax evasion in the UK has been found to be much smaller than in some other countries (Agha and Haughton (1996) reported evasion of 3% in the UK compared to 40% in Italy), even small amounts of evasion represent large losses in revenue. Still, there has been little research on VAT compliance over the last three decades, with research focusing mainly on income tax compliance (de Mello, 2009; Webly, 2004). I think that this is a very interesting and important topic of research because of the impending increase in the rate of VAT in the UK and the current paucity of research in this area. The lack of research on VAT in particular makes it difficult to assess the impact of the increase and so I think this is an area worth investigating more.

1.2Research Aims and Objectives

The purpose of this study is to build on previous research into tax evasion in general, and VAT evasion in particular, to present a description of small businesses’ perspectives on VAT and related issues. The specific objectives of this research are:

To describe small businesses’ perspectives on paying VAT and related issues,
To investigate the degree to which social and psychological factors play an important role in evasion of VAT, and
To investigate the possible impact of the increase in VAT on in evasion.

This paper has two additional sections. The second section is the preliminary Literature Review, in which the research on VAT compliance and important social psychological factors is discussed. Section three details the Methodology, outlining how the research will be carried out.

2.0Preliminary Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

People’s willingness to pay taxes depends on a range of variables. Economists tend to highlight the importance of the relevance of exogenous variables such as tax rate, income, and probability of detection and the level of sanctions, while psychological research demonstrates that endogenous variables are also significant, including taxpayers’ attitudes toward the government and taxation, personal norms, perceived efficiency and equity (Hofmann et al., 2008; Kirchler, 2007). In taking these together, Cullis and Lewis (1997: 320) terms this the ‘economic psychology approach,’ which combines the “positive approach the empirical world” with “the softer approach” in which people “comply with taxes for different reasons and … the tax compliance problem is in part socially constructed.”

Adams and Webley’s (2001) have undertaken research specifically investigating VAT compliance and uncovered fifteen main concepts falling into five key themes that they thought to be relevant. Of the five major themes, four were recurrent in previous research on income tax compliance research: equity, attitudes toward taxation and tax authorities, sanctions, and personality/morality. The fifth theme they highlighted was ‘mental accounting,’ which they note is a recognised psychological construct but has not previously been applied in the area of tax compliance. This five-factor model was echoed in Webley et al. (2006), who extended the research undertaken by Adams and Webley (2001) and found that mental accounting and equity were particularly important factors affecting VAT compliance. These five factors are briefly discussed here.

2.2 Sanctions and Punishments

In economics, the basic theory of tax evasion is an application of the theory of choice under uncertainty (Clotfelter, 1983). In the standard approach to tax evasion, a risk-averse individual chooses either the amount or the share of income to be concealed so as to maximise her expected utility of income, considering (1) the probability of detection, (2) the penalty tax rate applied when tax evasion is detected, (3) the marginal tax rate, and (4) the level of true income (Pommerehne and Weck-Hannemann, 1996). Thus, the problem a person has to tackle is whether or not to evade some part of her legal tax liability given that there is a probability of being caught if she decides to be non-compliant. Therefore, economic models focus on the role of penalties and audits, with economists theorising that greater penalties and audit probabilities should increase compliance (Slemrod, 2007). Empirical research indicates that both penalties and audits can lead to greater compliance (Andreoni et al., 1998), although higher penalties have been shown to be less of a deterrent than higher audit probabilities (Hessing et al., 1992).

2.3 Equity

At the centre of tax policy are concepts of equity (fairness) as the perceived fairness of a tax system has been found to be is essential to its acceptability and smooth functioning (Adams and Webley, 2001; Hofmann et al., 2008). This ‘first, basic rule of taxation’ is based on Adam Smith’s first maxim of a good tax, which reads:

The subjects of every State ought to contribute towards the support of the government as nearly as possible in proportion to their respective abilities – that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the State (as cited in Musgrave, 2002: 10).

Wenzel (2003) discusses three types of fairness that are applicable in this area. Distributive justice deals with the fair exchange of resources, benefits, and costs, procedural justice deals with the issue of tax collection and resource distribution, while retributive justice deals with the perceived fairness of audit and punishment as discussed above. Overall, research demonstrates that, where taxpayers feel there is a disparity in the exchange relationship, it is more likely that people will be non-complaint in order to offset or reduce the perceived inequity (Cowell, 1992). In recent work by Webley and colleagues on VAT and small businesses (Adams and Webley, 2001; Webley et al., 2004) the idea that small businesses especially are unfairly treated in the current system was a frequent theme.

2.4 Personality/Morality

In their research, Adams and Webley (2001) discuss the impact of egoism on compliance behaviour. They draw on research by Weigel et al. (1998) indicating that people that have egoistic tendencies are more likely to break rules when these rules are not in their personal self-interest and thus are more likely to try to avoid paying taxes. This idea is supported by research showing that egoism is a good indicator of the individual’s propensity to evade income taxes (Elffers, 1991), engage in benefits fraud (Hessing et al., 1993), and incur parking violations (Adams and Webley, 1996). Researchers have also outlined other important norms that may be important in influencing tax compliance, such as authoritarianism and Machiavellianism (Kirchler et al., 2008), and the overall conclusion from the research in this area is that people with more developed moral reasoning or tax ethics are more likely to be compliant (Hofmann et al., 2008; Trivedi et al., 2003).

2.5 Satisfaction with the Tax Authorities

Theoretical and empirical research indicates that dissatisfaction with the tax authorities is one of the reasons for non-compliance (Adams and Webley, 2001; Elffers, 1991; Hofmann et al., 2008; Webley et al., 2006). One way to look at this is based on efficiency, with research showing that people that think the tax system is inefficient are less likely to comply (Wearing and Heady, 1995).

2.6 Mental Accounting

Finally, Adams and Webley (2001) and Webley et al. (2006) have found that the way in which business people see the VAT money they collect is an important factor in whetner they choose to comply with VAT laws or not and use the idea of ‘mental accounting’ (see to develop this point. According to Webley et al. (2006: 178):

Mental accounting is often described as a psychological mechanism whereby income is framed…. in respect of personal finance …people have a number of mental accounts that operate independently of one another. What is interesting in the current context is whether business men and women psychologically separate monies owed to the VAT into a separate mental account from that of business turnover. If they do not, they may be more likely to try to evade VAT as a result of seeing it as ‘their’ money.

The results of their research is that most of the business people saw the money collected as theirs and therefore disliked handing it over to HM Revenue and Customs.

2.7 Summary

As noted in the Introduction, there has been little research on VAT compliance over the last three decades and this is reflected in the literature that has been reviewed here. However, brief review of the literature on VAT compliance, combined with the insights from the research on income tax compliance, indicates that businesses’ willingness to comply with VAT laws is influenced by sanctions, but also by a number of internal factors, important among which are perceptions of equity and their mental accounting. These five factors discussed will be used as starting points to investigate the issue as the literature search is extended over the next few months.

3.0Methodology

Based on the research objectives outlined in the first section, secondary research was thought to be appropriate. Secondary research is the summary, collation, and/or synthesis of existing research (Robson, 2002). While secondary analysis is an important feature of the research and evaluation landscape, “few researchers consider the possibility of re-analysing data that have already been collected for some other purpose” (Saunders et al., 1997: 158). I initially considered undertaking a typical research strategy which would include the collection of data directly from one or more business owners and then its subsequent analysis using statistics. However, this did not seem the best manner in which to collect the evidence that was necessary primarily because time and monetary constraints meant that I would not be able to undertake research in several different types of businesses or on large samples of businesspeople.

In constructing in method, a secondary information search strategy was put together with two main steps. The first step is to specify the data needs, which was empirical and theoretical articles dealing with VAT compliance. The second step includes specifying the data retrieval method. Both manual and electronic retrieval methods will be used. In the electronic search, two approaches will be used to locate relevant articles. First, a keyword search will be conducted, meaning that keywords relating to VAT evasion will be identified and then used in various search engines to locate relevant material. The next approach will be based on the previous searches, meaning that relevant material cited in the data sources already collected will be located and collected. Data will be presented using traditional narrative reviews, which use a narrative format to summarise the findings of primary studies on a coherent topic to attempt to draw conclusions or inform theory (Robson, 2002).

There are two main limitations of this method. First, the research subject deals with matters that relate to contemporary issues and ay be restricted by deep-seated social, historic and regional biases. Second, the insufficiency of published information on VAT compliance in comparison to other more well-researched aspects of tax compliance are underlying limiting factors that restrict availability of requisite secondary information. This may result in the omission of significant information that may well have improved the research conclusions.

References

Adam, S. and Browne, J. (2009). A survey of theUKtax system. Institute of Fiscal Studies Briefing Note No. 9 [online]. Available at http://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn09.pdf [cited 17 March 2010].

Adams, C. and Webley, P. (1996). The role of economic and psychological variables in parking violations. Psychology, Crime and Law, 3: 111-133.

Adams, C. and Webley, P. (2001). Small business owners’ attitudes on VAT compliance in the UK. Journal of Economic Psychology, 22 (2): 195-216.

Agha, A. and Haughton, J. (1996). Designing VAT systems: Some efficiency considerations. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 78 (2): 303-308.

Andreoni, J., Erard, B., and Feinstein, J. (1998). Tax compliance. Journal of Economic Literature, 36 (2): 818-860.

Clotfelter, C. (1983). Tax evasion and tax rates: An analysis of individual returns. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 65 (3): 363-373.

Cowell, F. (1992). Tax evasion and inequity. Journal of Economic Psychology, 13, 521- 543.

Cullis, J. and Lewis, A. (1997). Why people pay taxes: From a conventional economic model to a model of social convention. Journal of Economic Psychology, 18 (2/3) 305-321.

Davies, M. (2007). Doing a Successful Research Project. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

de Mello, L. (2009). Avoiding the Value Added Tax: Theory and cross-country evidence. Public Finance Review, 37 (1): 27-46.

Elffers, H. (1991). Income Tax Evasion: Theory and Measurement. Amsterdam: Kluwer.

Hessing, D. J., Elffers, H., Robben, H. S. J., and Webley, P. (1993). Needy or greedyThe social psychology of individuals who fraudulently claim unemployment benefits. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 23: 226-243.

Hessing, D., Elffers, H., Robben, H., and Webley, P. (1992). Does deterrence deterMeasuring the effect of deterrence on tax compliance in field studies and experimental studies. In Slemrod, J. (ed.), Why People Pay Taxes: Tax Compliance and Enforcement (p. 291-305). Michigan: University of Michigan Press.

HM Revenue and Customs (2010). VAT – change of the standard rate to 20 per cent: A detailed guide for vat-registered businesses. 22 June. Available online at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/forms-rates/rates/rate-rise-guidance.pdf [accessed 28 November 2010].

Hofmann, E., Hoelzl, E., and Kirchler, E. (2008). Preconditions of voluntary tax compliance: Knowledge and evaluation of taxation, norms, fairness, and motivation to cooperate. Journal of Psychology, 216 (4): 209-217.

Kirchler, E. (2007). The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Kirchler, E., Hoelzl, E., and Wahl, I. (2008). Enforced versus voluntary tax compliance: The ‘slippery slope’ framework. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29 (2): 210-225.

Musgrave, R. (2002). Equity and the case for progressive taxation. In Thorndike, J. and Ventry, D. (eds.), Tax Justice: The Ongoing Debate (p. 9-24). Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.

Pommerehne, W. and Weck-Hannemann, H. (1996). Tax rates, tax administration, and income tax evasion in Switzerland. Public Choice, 88, (1/2): 161-70.

Robson, C. (2002). Real World Research: A Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner-Researchers. Oxford: Blackwell.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., and Thornhill, A. (1997). Research Methods for Business Students. London: Pitman Publishing.

Slemrod, J. (2007). Cheating ourselves: The economics of tax evasion. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21 (1): 25-48.

Trivedi, V., Shehata, M., and Lynn, B. (2003). Impact of personal and situational factors on taxpayer compliance: An experimental analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 47 (3): 175-197.

Wearing, A. and Heady, B. (1995). The would-be tax evader: A profile. Paper presented at the Australian Tax Office Compliance Research Conference, Canberra, 1995.

Webley, P. (2004). Tax compliance by businesses. In Sjogren, H. and Skogh, G. (eds.), New Perspectives on Economic Crime (p. 95-126). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Webley, P., Adams, C., and Elffers, H. (2006). Value Added Tax compliance. In McCaffery, E. and Slemrod, J. (eds.), Behavioural Public Finance (p. 175-205). New York, NY: Russell Age Foundation.

Weigel, R., Hessing, D., and Elffers, H. (1998). Egoism: Concept, measurement, and implications for deviance. Psychology, Crime and Law, 5: 449-478.

Wenzel, M. (2003). Tax compliance and the psychology of justice: Mapping the field. In Braithwaite, V. (ed.), Taxing Democracy: Understanding Tax Avoidance and Evasion (p. 41–69). Hants, UK: Ashgate

Appendix

The following diagram provides an indication of how it is intended to conduct the various stages of the development of this research project.

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Task1

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Research design –– – –
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Dissertation production
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Categories
Free Essays

A Critical Discussion of Research Methods and Approaches

Introduction:

Progressing further from the literature review, a research methodology is proposed and formulated concentrating on the design, implementation and careful analysis of the data to achieve the main research objective which is to analyse what staff at Asda think of the electronic training and induction which takes place within the company. This would be carefully analysed in further details.

Research Philosophy:

Saunders et al (2007) defines research philosophy as the manner in which knowledge is being developed and interpreted. Literature by Saunders et al (2007) indicates that there are three important variables that must be considered when looking at a research philosophy. These are Ontology, Epistemology and Axiology respectively.

Ontology is mainly concerned with the nature of reality; it raises questions on how the world functions and various views that people hold within. Whereas, Epistemology is the way knowledge is demonstrated and how it can be justified. Axiology is a branch of philosophy which studies judgements about value and it stresses upon that what role the researcher’s value play in the research. (Saunders et al 2007).

This research is taking place in Asda store in Edinburgh and the philosophical approach it will adopt is Epistemology. Epistemology as defined by Baker and Foy (2008) is the branch of philosophy which is concerned with the nature of knowledge and mainly concerns at what does and what does not constitute as warranted knowledge.

According to Easter-by-Smith et al (2004), adopting a research position is vital in research because of the following reasons. First, it helps to clarify the research design. Second, it identifies which design will work and which will not. Third, it allows the researcher to stay within the research objectives and also indicate some limitations of a particular research approach and last it can help the researcher to introduce his or her personal experiences in the research process. However, there are two philosophical positions that have emerged from within the rank of Epistemology. These are Objectivism and Constructivism. (Saunders et al 2007)

Further, Johnson and Clark (2006) argues that the most important issue is not which philosophical space the research occupies but on how well the research is reflected and defence against the alternatives the researcher could have adopted. More so, the theoretical perspective history presents a graphical illustration of the philosophical positions below:

Theoretical Perspective:

Objectivism as an epistemological stance holds the view that social entity exists in reality and is independent of people’s perceptions. However constructivism is opposite to objectivism. Truth and meaning do not exist in some external world and people construct their own meaning in different ways, even in relation to the same phenomenon. (Remeyi et al 2005)

This research will mainly adopt a constructivist approach because it is about looking at people’s views and beliefs. However, there is a very little element of objectivism in the research as to look at past figures and study the previous trends of young and older workers beliefs and views. Therefore, focusing mainly on constructivism thus, making it fairly justifiable for using this constructivist approach. This correlate with the theoretical perspective of interpretivism. Saunders et al (2007) defines interpretivism as an epistemological approach which is necessary for the researcher to understand the difference between the humans in the role as a social actor. This approach is adopted by those who regard the business world as too complex to permit the discovery of definite laws. According to Saunders et al (2007), interpretivism refers to way people make sense of the world around them, which bears different perceptions of the way people judge, think and feel about organisational operations. However, proponents of interpretivism are criticised for undermining the general ability of research findings. Reasons for adopting this philosophical approach is that the staff at Asda is going to base and construct their own understanding and knowledge on electronic training and induction which is offered to them therefore they will have their opinions and feelings about it and whether they like it or not.

Remeyi et al (2005:104) nicely summarised the underpinning features of objectivism and constructivism in the table below:-

ObjectivismConstructivism
Basic beliefs:World is externally and objectiveObserver is independentWorld is socially constructed and subjectiveObserver is part of what is been observed

Focus on meaning
Researchers should:Focus on factsLook for causality and fundamental lawsReduce phenomena to simplest elements

Formulate and test hypothesisTry to understand what is happening
Look at totality of each situation
Preferred methods:Operationalise concepts so they can be measuredTake large samples

Use multiple methods to establish different views of phenomenaSmall samples investigated in depth or over time

Source:Remeyi et al (2005:104)

Research Approach: Inductive and Deductive Research

There are two major approaches to a research development namely induction and deduction. Deductive approach is similarly to that of the scientific research. It involves the development of a theory which is subjected to a rigorous test. (Collis and Hussey2003)

Deductive approach in a research works from a more general to more specific and conclusions can be drawn from an available theory. (Saunders et al 2007). For instance: Herzberg’s Two Factor theory can be used to identify job satisfaction within a workplace.

Inductive approach on the other hand works the other way round moving from much specific to broader generalisation and conclusions are based on the facts identified in the research findings.The purpose of this is to get a feel of what is going on so as to understand something in a much better way. (Saunders et al 2007)

Inductive approach will be suitable for this research because the research objectives are context specific, gathering general ideas and views of people and the research will be carried out to get a better understanding of the workplace systems and finally conclusions will be arrived from the research findings.

Research Methodology/ Strategy: Case Study

According to Remeyi et al (2005) research strategy provides the overall direction of the research and has identified several research strategies namely action research, case studies, forecasting, survey, ethnography, grounded theory and archival research.

Robson (2002) defines case study as a strategy for doing research which involves an investigation of a particular existing fact within its real life context using multiple sources of evidence. Morris and Wood (1991) states that the case study strategy is of a greater interest if the researcher wishes to gain a rich understanding of the context of the research and the process being enacted. Case study strategy also generates answers to the questions, for this reason the case study strategy is often used in explanatory and exploratory research.

For the purpose of this research, the researcher will focus on case study strategy. The use of this strategy will comfortably accommodate better understanding and provide rich picture of the current situation and training systems in place within Asda.

Purpose of the Research: Descriptive, Exploratory or Explanatory:

The classification of the research purpose most often used in the research methods is among one of the following: exploratory, descriptive or explanatory. However, the research project may have more than one purpose. (Saunders et al 2007)

Robson (2002) points out, that the purpose of enquiry within the research can also change over time.

Descriptive Study:

Robson (2002) states that, the aim of descriptive research is to portray an accurate and exact profile of people, events or situations.

Exploratory Study:

An exploratory study is very valuable way of finding out what is happening or to seek new insights, to ask questions and to assess phenomena in a new light. It is a very useful if the research is about clarifying and understanding of any problems and there is also a willingness to change direction in exploratory study. (Robson 2002)

Explanatory Study:

This involves a research which focuses on studying a situation or a problem in order to explain the relationships between variables. (Saunders et al 2007)

This research is going to use exploratory study because it involves getting a general understanding of electronic training given to staff in Asda and exploring any problems within the workplace faced by the employees finally willing to make any adjustments according to the needs and requirements of the employees.

Qualitative and Quantitative Data:

Saunders et al (2007) describe qualitative data as non-numerical data and which has not been quantified. Carter and Litter (2007) hold the view that qualitative research enables the researcher to rely on words rather than using numerical data when carrying out the investigation. The researcher can pose open the questions about the nature of things as they happen in real life rather than putting out to test already established hypothesis.

However, on the other hand quantitative data as described by Saunders et al (2007) as numerical data that have been quantified and it is the data that can be measured.

Carter and Little (2007) describe quantitative data as data which is based on facts and figures.

This research is mainly focused on Qualitative method because it involves describing things for instance getting feelings of staff over induction and training method used in Asda which is the main objective of this research. The qualitative data will be collected from interviews to get a general feeling of things. However, there is also little Quantitative analysis involved within the research because the researcher will gather some numerical data by giving out the questionnaires in order to access the effectiveness of electronic induction and training. Previous figures can also be collected from management for accessing the effectiveness of e-training but the main focus still relies on the qualitative analysis. Quantitative data can be represented by using pie charts, bar charts or reports. Easterby-Smith et al (2004) states that the combination of both methods of research enhances and maximises the quality of the research.

Data Collection Methods:

This research is based on a realistic philosophical stance based on inductive approach, the research strategy being a case study, the purpose of the research being exploratory using both qualitative and quantitative analysis but mainly emphasising on qualitative analysis. Data collection methods are simply how the information is gathered. There is a wide range of data collection methods available namely: surveys, sampling, questionnaire, observation, interview, focus groups. (Easterby-Smith et al 2004)

However for the purpose of this research the researcher is going to use three methods to collect data (questionnaire, semi-structured interview and focus group discussions) for the purpose of triangulation.

Questionnaires:

A questionnaire is a set of carefully prepared questions designed with the aim of collecting reliable data from selected participants. (Remeyi et al 2005)

Oppenheim (1992) defines a questionnaire as a tool for collecting and recording information about a particular issue of interest. It is made up of a list of questions and it should always have a definite purpose which is related to the objectives of the research. Questionnaires are commonly used to gather straightforward information relating to people’s behaviour or to look at basic attitudes and opinions of people relating to a particular issue. The questionnaire can be designed using both open and closed ended questions to get both qualitative and quantitative data.

For the purpose of this research, the researcher will distribute the questionnaires to the permanent staff specially focusing on staff that has been to both electronically and classroom based training sessions. Reason for using a questionnaire is that it will enable the researcher to get a clear picture about the effectiveness of e-training. A sample size of about 30 staff will then be chosen. This will include 25 shop floor workers, 2 team leaders, 2 line managers and 1 personal training buddy. The questionnaire will be in the form of both open and closed ended questions to get a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data. The questionnaire is focused to those employees and managers who can share and express their views in interviews and focus group discussions.

Further, Cohen et al (2000) states that advantages of a questionnaire is that the feedback is anonymous which encourages openness and honesty and it gives the opportunity to each employee to participate. The use of questionnaires gives the following advantages: it is cost and time efficient in collecting and analysing data. However, questionnaires also possess some sort of difficulty for example open ended questions may require the respondent to give detailed answers which may be a challenge to some respondents whereas, closed ended questions may limit the in-depth enquiry of relevant information. (Easterby-Smith et al 2004) The researcher will carry out a pilot test using five questionnaires to check that the questions are easily understood and that there are no particular problems relating to the length, sensitivity and sequence of questions.

One to one Interviews:

According to Easterby-Smith et al (2004) one to one interviews can take various forms: structured, semi-structured and unstructured. This requires a face-to-face conversation between the interviewee and the interviewer and the sequence of questions are open ended.

This research will adopt a semi-structured interview. Remeyi et al (2005) states that semi-structured interview provides an opportunity to probe complex issues in a relaxed atmosphere.

The reason for carrying out the research in a semi-structured interview technique is because it provides quick and rich evidence because the respondent can provide detailed insights of facts. Participants for the semi-structured interview will be selected on the basis that they have gone through both electronic and classroom trainings programmes. The sample for the interview would be five members mainly: 1 personnel manager, 1 departmental manager, 1 line manager and 2 shop floor workers. The interview questions will be drawn out from the literature review however; the researcher may add any relevant questions or drop any issues which may seem inappropriate while conducting the interview.

Focus Group Discussions:

A focus group discussion is a group of people who have been brought together to discuss a specific topic in depth. According to Saunders et al (2007) focus group discussions involves the use of comprehensively group interaction whereby participants are chosen because they have something to contribute on the topic. A focus group can precede both quantitative and qualitative data.

The researcher will use focus group discussions as third method to gather data. Reasons for doing a focus group discussion is because one session of a group discussion produces a large amount of information in a relatively short period of time. The research will involve five participants in the focus group discussion; 1 line manager, 1 team leader, 1 training buddy and 2 shop floor workers and the sessions will last for 25 minutes.

Triangulation:

According to Wolf (2010:145) ‘’triangulation refers to the combination of different research modes or looking at the same topic from different angles.’’

As stated above, three methods have been adopted for this research. They will better explore the outcome of the e-training process thus enhancing validity. The reason is to provide broader breadth and depth of the research objectives and also offer greater clarity about the gaps in philosophical commitment during data collection and analysis levels. (Cox and Hassard 2005)

Validity and Reliability of Research Design:

Validity and reliability are very important criteria in evaluating a research. According to Joppe (2000), validity determines whether the research truly measures that which was intended to measure or how truthful the research results are. Remeyi et al (2005) refers to validity as representing a good fit between theory and reality, in the same sense that when a description of a process is evaluated; best fit between theory and reality can be traced. The primary reason for considering this is to indicate how the research will be accepted as a piece of academic writing.

Since the research will include little bit of quantitative data, statistical validity will be very paramount to ensure consistency and integrity. Also validity of qualitative data will be prompted whether the researcher has gained full access to knowledge and information about the case study. (Remeyi et al 2005)

Reliability is that similar observations should be made by researchers on different occasions and the concern is that how replicable the study is. (Remeyi et al 2005)This is achieved by keeping the data which is been collected safely and to enable others to investigate if any doubts arise in the research results. This provides transparency and trust in the philosophy, approach and methods used in collecting and analysing data since they are open for scrutiny. (Remeyi et al 2005).

Research Ethics:

The researcher will bear in mind the ethical issues; these will be in accordance with research ethics framework presented by the University of Bolton Institutional Repository and also the Economic and Social Research Council: to ensure the design and the research itself will respect honesty and quality standard. Its been guaranteed that the intended used methods shall be clearly understood by the participants and privacy will be respected in terms of when gathering data and anonymity of respondent. Finally, the author will observe the widely cited suggestions given by Remeyi et al (2005) relative to the theft of ideas, choice of sampling, obtaining assistance from others, misrepresentation of work done and lastly to avoid illegal and unlawful conducts with the entities of the organisation being studied.

Evaluation of Overall Research Design:

The research philosophy, approach, strategy and methods adopted for the research are judged by the researcher as the most suitably fit for the research objectives. However, the researcher is aware of the lapses in the research design and these might cause hindrance in convincing conclusions. The researcher has envisaged the following possible limitations and has outlined backup plans.

Firstly, the issues could rise in the inclusion and exclusion of sampling criteria may rise constraints in the research design. For example: age discrimination and ethnicity might be a problem and overall logistic costs and general feasibility of the research design can hinder the collection of sufficient data. Also selected participants maybe unavailable due to being absence, some participants being on sick leave, workers taking pre-booked holidays and most importantly the busy schedule of management may cause disruptions in the research. In addition, the current management within the department might be altered through transfers hence; this might slow down the research process completely.

Secondly, the sample of 30 participants may not provide a broader picture of the electronically based training and induction in Asda.

Thirdly, errors and non-responsive attitude of the participants might cause problems in the sample representation.

Furthermore, by using a case study strategy it makes it difficult to generalise the outcomes of the research since it may not present a wider view of the store or Asda organisation. This can raise questions about the validity and reliability of the research. Also, the time available to carry out the research is limited. This limits the collection of vital information through semi-structured interviews and focus groups discussions which might cause some loop holes in the research process.

Accurate and appropriate data collection analysis tools maybe difficult to find sometimes. Again, since the purpose of the research objective seems to be limited and focuses on a more tangible issue such as technology; this might limit participants interest in the research thus can cause setbacks in the research process. Equally important is that access to vital information about the personnel department might cause constraints in the research itself; as stated by Wolf (2010) it is common for researcher to encounter accessibility difficulties during the data collection stages of their research.

Finally, the research project is the first independent project carried out by the researcher of such magnitude, although the author has written essays for up to three thousand words but this may cause inaccuracies in the overall research design.

The use of questionnaires will target wide sample size, this will ensure appropriate response. Interviews and focus group discussions will enable the researcher to obtain valuable information for limited time since management will be involved.

As data analysis and interpretation of data is concerned, the researcher will apply simple co-efficient method by comparing between samples, the higher co-efficient reflecting higher score and vice versa. (Cavusgil and Das 1997)

With regards to internal and external validity of the research, the author will ensure causality between the research objectives, literature review and the research design and also ensure that the research design matches with other research patterns.

In addition, triangulation has been adopted to provide richness in the data collected. Similarly, the author will follow the recommendations provided by Gilbbert and Ruigrok (2010) to ensure external validity; generality in external setting does not mean that case study should give up generalisability but the key is to distinguish between statistical and analytical generality.

With respect to ethical concerns, the research will guarantee transparency through careful documentation and organisation of the research process with relevant materials to be kept secured to facilitate retrieval for any further investigation.

Furthermore, the author will ensure for the sample criteria all cultures are respected. Inclusion criteria will follow the provisions of Equality and Discrimination Act 2010. The author will use random sample in order to avoid any representation errors.

Also with regards to accessibility, the author will keep closed contact with the management. More so, the author works within the company as a seasonal staff during the holidays and has been working there for three years so this makes it easy for the management and employees with regards to communication flow so the communication gap has been eliminated. The issue of cost especially travelling and other logistics from Bolton to Edinburgh will be handled since Edinburgh is the author’s main UK residency place.

In short, the research design coupled with the research objectives and the literature review are fundamental in critically evaluating the process of electronic training and induction in Asda Edinburgh.

References

Baker, M.A., Foy, A. (2008) Business and Management Research, 2nd Ed, Argyll: Westburn Publishers

Carter, S.M., Little, M. (2007) Justifying Knowledge, Justifying Method, Taking Action: Epistemologies, Methodologies and Methods in Qualitative Research, Journal of Qualitative Health Research, vol.17, no.10, pp.1316-132

Cavusgil, S.M., Das, A. (1997) Methodology Issues in Cross-cultural Sourcing Research – a Primer, Marketing Intelligence and Planning Journal, vol.15, no.5, pp.213-220

Cohen, L., Manion, L., Morrison, K. (2000) Research Methods in Education, 5th Ed, London: Rouledge Falmer

Collis, J., Hussey, R. (2003) Business Research: A Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students, 2nd Ed, Basingstoke: Macmillan

Cox, J.W., Hassard, J. (2005) Triangulation in Organisational Research: A Representation, Organisation Science Journal, vol.12, pp.109-133

Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R., Lowe, A. (2004) Management Research: An Introduction, 2nd Ed, London: Sage Publications

Gibbert, M., Ruigrok, W. (2010) The ‘What’ and ‘How’ of Case Study Rigor: Three Strategies Based on Published Work, Journal of Organisational Research Methods, vol.13, no.4, pp.710-737

Johnson, P., Clark, M. (2006) Business and Management Research Methodologies, Sage Publications

Joppe, M. (2000) The Research Process, The Quantitative Report Journal, vol.8, no.4, pp.597-607. Available from: http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR8-4/golafshani.pdf[Accessed on 25th April 2011]

Morris, T., Wood, S. (1991) ‘’Testing the survey method: continuity and change in British industrial relations’, Work Employment and Society, vol.5, no.2, pp.259-82

Neuman, W.L. (2000) Social Research Methods, 2nd Ed, London: Allyn and Bacon

Oppenheim, A.N. (1992) Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement, 2nd Ed, London: St. Martins Press

Remeyi, D.W., Money, A., Swartz, E. (2005) Doing Research in Business and Management: An Introduction to Process and Method, London: Sage Publications

Robson, C. (2002) Real World Research, 2nd Ed, Oxford: Blackwell

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., Thornhill, A. (2007) Research Methods for Business Students, 4th Ed, Harlow: Pearson Education

Wolf, F. (2010) Enlightened Eclecticism or Hazardous HotchpotchMixed Methods and Triangulation, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, vol.4, no.2, pp.144-16

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Free Essays

The support worker conducting this research is currently studying at University of Winchester.

Introduction

This dissertation will help the author to increase knowledge about literature review that supports on how to understand and manage clients with Learning Disability and Difficult Behavior. The support worker conducting this research is currently studying at University of Winchester. Taking BSc(Hons) Professional Practice in Health and Social Care. Have been working in a residential home in North London caring for clients with learning disability and autism. Basically we support the client to improve their living and help them live independently as possible. I have been working as a support worker for almost a year now. And as a support worker it is my responsibility to provide best quality care to the clients I am supporting from the very basic such as helping in personal care and domestic responsibilities. We support our clients using their personal care plan, which provides information about client’s preferences that is compiled by the company. To familiarize to the clients support plan and strategies and following guidelines in implementing daily activities. Including medicine protocols, video tracking of structured teaching plans and giving time out strategies in dealing aggressive behaviour. The reasons for these study is to educate people about learning disability, to understand and improve approaches in dealing challenging behaviour and at the same time help these clients to overcome difficult behaviour. The study will also help future researches to update and apply new developments in dealing difficult behaviour with these clients.

The selected topic to be discussed is managing clients in difficult behaviour using effective interventions. Practices that will help manage difficult situations, helping clients with learning difficulty to overcome challenging behaviour and improving support for people with learning disabilities. To start with, there are many kinds of learning disabilities that involve a person’s way of thinking. The manner our brains develop information is compound and make someone marvel about how to figure out things. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act defined learning disability as “a disorder in one or more of the vital psychological development involved in understanding or in using verbal communication, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in a deficient ability to listen, reflect, verbalize, read, write, spell, or do mathematical analogy”(Emerson 2001 p2). It is essential for the support worker dealing with learning disability to find ways in evaluating underlying cause to properly understand on how to manage the client. Especially in cases where individual with learning disability demonstrate aggression due to deficiency in expressing their needs.

The importance of these studies is to understand people with learning disabilities and provide knowledge on how to deal with or manage the condition. “As many as one out of every five people in United States ages six to twenty one has learning disability, and over half of all children who receive special education have the condition” according to (Twenty-fourth Annual Report to Congress, U.S. Department of Education, 2002). However, a child that has difficulty in reading, speaking, listening, and writing should be evaluated. “People with learning disabilities have a reduced ability to understand new or complex information, and those who experience difficulties when handing out information may find it tough to study new skills”,( DH 2001).

When a person is having learning disability he or she may have difficulty learning the alphabet, rhyming words, or relating letters to their sounds. May make many mistakes when reading aloud, do not comprehend what he reads. May have real trouble with spelling, cluttered handwriting and struggle to articulate ideas in writing. May learn language late with restricted words, difficulty remembering sounds that letters make. May have difficulty following instructions and organizing judgement he needs for writing or discussion. May not follow social policy of discussion and not be able to repeat a story in order. If a person is struggling to do any one of these skills he or she may need to be evaluated to see if he has a learning disability. However, one of those problems faced by social worker and support worker is managing difficult or challenging behaviour. Lack of experience, training or skills in managing carefully and effectively difficult behaviour could cause serious implications. “The recent intervention of choice for challenging behaviour is based on behavioural ideology and should categorize the purpose of the target behaviour and train functionally equal adaptive skills” (Ball et al 2004, Feldman et al 2004 p28).

Through these studies the author may incorporate and provide methods and knowledge to people in understanding learning disability. Find ways in managing difficult behaviour and interventions to be applied and improve support for learning disability clients. Following the introduction of this topic is literature reviews of the chosen topic in managing and understanding Learning Disability with difficult behaviour.

Search engines used

To be able for the author to go through with her dissertation the used of informational tools such as searching related to the topic was carefully selected. The author looks first on defining her chosen topic using previous journals, articles, and researches with the help of online search. By using the words learning disability, challenging behaviour and related issues therefore to answer the authors question in doing the study was searched. The use of academic source and databases online at the University of Winchester, such as British journal of Intellectual Disability, was a big help for the author in doing her dissertation. Going through and reading relevant issues have help in choosing the right literatures which the author had included in her dissertation. The author also focused only on the issues that can be useful which on the future can be used and apply in the area of practice.

Literature Review

Review of current literature regarding managing and understanding learning disability and difficult behaviour was compiled through using previous researches, journals and articles by using online research databases, British journal of Intellectual Disability at the University of Winchester.

This article entitled, Difficulties faced by social care staff when managing challenging behaviour. Upon reading this research article it says that most individuals with learning disability live in community settings supported by social workers and staff. A comparatively high ratio of individual who displays challenging behaviour (Emerson et al 2000) but may not have the practice, trainings or skills to supervise safely and effectively. Will has serious implications for client, for the workforce and eventually for service costs (Feldman et al 2004). Moreover, these issues must be addressed at an individual, group and organisational level (Gentry 2001). Severely challenging behaviour is commonly defined as, ‘behaviour of such force, regularity, or length, that the physical security of the person or others is placed in grave threat, or behaviour which is likely to badly limit, or deny access to and use of ordinary community facilities’(Emerson et al 1988). Though management of a challenging behaviour is based on identifying the target behaviour by educating functionally comparable adaptive skills but they are rarely used in an organized way. Feldman et al (2004) stated that, without formal behaviour al guidelines, staff can use involuntary, controlling and repeatedly intrusive methods to deal with challenging behaviour.

The use of improper, conflicting or reactive intervention strategies may, in turn, perform as contributing factors to an increase in challenging behaviour. In their study, McKenzie et al (2005a) found that sixty five percent of the services had complexity in implementing behavioural guidelines. These may be due to lack of time running to discuss with other staff or some matter of fact issues or dissimilar and not related to the behaviour. It can also be barriers such as lack of communication, attitudes and supervising styles. However, it is suggested to certify lasting changes in practice, improvements in service stipulation requires to be addressed at an organisational level (Gentry et al 2001, La Vigna et al 1994).

One method of doing this is the Periodic Service Review (PSR), this aims to achieve, and sustain, a high quality and constant service and has four components. Periodic Service Review was implemented regularly by an organisation providing residential, respite and family support to people with a learning disability, to help classify areas where provision quality could be improved. Firstly, is the Performance Standards, these are evident and measurable and align with the service quality can be calculated. Secondly, is the Performance Monitoring, these comprise ensuring staff recognition of the monitoring system. Thirdly, Performance Feedback, these guarantee ongoing development and maintenance of quality. Lastly, the Staff Training, this identifies the required skills and awareness staff need. The present study, thus aims to broaden the work of McKenzie et al (2005a), which recognized barriers to implementing behavioural guidelines reported by support staff, by measuring actual staff preparation in relation to these guidelines using Periodic Service Review (PSR). The aim of these article is merely finding a way to improve and compare the difference of services who uses formal guidelines and does who do not to target difficult behaviour and eventually come up to a strategy in dealing with it.

This research explains that in order to deliver a quality service to clients with learning disability we must target specific strategies to the behaviour by implementing behavioural guidelines. By setting performance standard, monitoring and trainings which will support staff to avoid reactive, controlling and intrusive methods in managing clients showing difficult behaviour. Contributing factors such as inconsistent, reactive approach and strategies could lead to escalating the client’s behaviour. Thus, could not help in finding the target behaviour and apply specific strategy as it was mentioned that in order to come up to a way to deal difficulty is to address the need to find the cause of aggression.

Another literature from an article entitled Wide-scale implementation of a support program for parents of children with Intellectual disability and difficult behaviour that in managing learning disability and complex behaviour among children shows an enormous impact on parents. Children with an intellectual disability may exhibit high levels of difficult behaviour, such as hostility, self-injury, or damage to property. Such behaviour can be a foremost source of stress for family members (Hastings, 2002, Plant and Sanders, 2007a). In recent years numerous educational programs have been developed to help parents in supervising their kids with intellectual disability. However, there is a slight enquiry that has been conducted on carrying out of interventions for families with children with disabilities.

The Signposts for Building Better Behaviour program was developed by Hudson et al (2001), and consists of a number of parent and expert equipment. The parent materials include eight guidance booklets about various aspects of managing difficult behaviour of children, a workbook, and a videotape to demonstrate the content of the booklets. The practitioner materials enclose a detail instruction guidebook on program delivery and equipment for the regular assessment of outcomes. The program can be delivered by means of several modes, namely, with face to face support to an individual family, with face to face support to a group, with telephone support to the individual, to the individual or self-directed. Which the extend of release is six sessions over approximately 12 weeks.

The Signposts program is designed to be a universal preventive program for parents of children with an intellectual disability in the age range of 3-16 years. The basic aim is to teach parents skills to direct difficult behaviour of their child before those behaviours rise to a level that require extremely intensive intervention by professional services. The approach is to teach strategies to parents that will facilitate them to develop their own action plan precisely to the individual needs of their child. The wide-scale implementation of Signposts for Building Better Behaviour program (Hudson et al, 2001) was evaluated using the benchmarks recommended by Wiese, Stancliffe, and Hemsley (2005). Which a total of 2,119 parents and carers participated in the program over an 18-month period. Where participants reported that they were less depressed, less apprehensive, and less hassled, were more convinced and satisfied with managing their child, and less stressed by their child’s behaviour.

This article shows how Signposts for Building Better Behaviour program helps parents to manage their children with intellectual disability. By getting support from number of parent and practitioner materials. This will teach them skills in managing difficult behaviour before it escalates and enable them to provide and implement their own action plan in dealing with their children. Though this article is showing how to manage children somehow some similarities to the first article was seen. Such as setting guidelines to manage the challenging behaviour on its onset and getting consistent in treating.

This next literature review discusses workforce development and challenging behaviour, training staff to treat, to manage or to cope. There are lots of new workforce development strategies and frameworks in the UK, in recovering and producing a capable, confident workers delivering high- quality, person-centred, and community- based services. It was exampled in this article some changes made in England, Wales and Northern Ireland the revision of Learning Disabilities Accreditation Framework (LDAF), replacing the current National Qualifications Framework (NQF) to Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). And related updates are being made in Scotland as to regulate least required qualifications at Scottish Vocational Qualifications Level III (SVQ).

These are made to improving workforce progress generally; most staff working with people with learning disabilities does not have qualifications related to their jobs. This figure may be as high as 75 percent, according to Department of Health (2001). This will make complexity in maintaining a suitable standard in delivering care to clients to meet their needs. It is stated that, community services for people with learning disability and challenging behavior are guided, in the course of policy, training, and cascading of information, to employ recommendations such as those made by BPS/RCP/RCSLT (2007). Thompson and Reid (2002) found that, ‘Behavioral symptomless is extremely persistent’. By using analyst and carer ratings behaviors measured and stereotype, over activity and emotional abnormalities were particularly persistent.

It has been said in these article that BPS/RCP/RCSLT procedures are presently the most up-to-date set of guidelines on improving the quality of life for people with challenging behavior and others around them. The role of training in disparity to evidence based for effective interventions in challenging behavior, evidence of usefulness and outcomes is weak and there is still differing evidence over the years. However, few examples of forefront staff successfully implementing useful programmers following training. ‘Therapeutic interventions to treat and manage challenging behavior are only actually effective when the belief plan and the skills of the staff member matches his performance in relation to service users’ (Ager and O’May, 2001; Campbell, 2008; Grey et al., 2007).

Though the staffs outlook on challenging behavior can be changed on a brief training an advance workplace research is needed to ascertain if change will bring stable change in the practice. Regarding priorities for staff training, the BPS/RCP/RCSLT (2007) guidelines categorized a clear set of the competencies required. And it is mentioned that they are parallel to priorities identified in the BPS Clinical Practice Guidelines: Psychological Interventions for Severely Challenging Behaviors Shown by People with Learning Disabilities (2004). Specific and demonstrable training is needed, which includes carrying out purposeful analysis, implementing and monitoring intricate treatment plans consistently in an extensive period of time. On the other hand, if the staff were to supervise challenging behavior, a diverse training emphasis is needed. The focus must be on how to reduce or prevent challenging behavior when it happens and lessen harm, without expecting that these interventions in potential occurrences are less likely.

In this article, it emphasizes the importance of training, implementing effective programmers to be able to manage challenging behavior. Service providers must be equipped with skills that match in treating the specific challenging behavior. And in addition, the British Psychological Society guidelines can be used as it is one of the most up-to-date set of guidelines on improving the quality of life for people with challenging behavior and others around them. The guidelines were also mentioned in this article which is similar to the first two articles. Although it has different contents, their focuses are the same as to managing difficult behavior.

The inpatient facilities for people with learning disabilities have almost departed over the years and have been moved to a range of community terms and support. However, in recent years a small increase of individuals who present challenge on a community based services which place them and others at danger was noticed. As Kearns (2001) stated that, “there is a distinct need for long-term care facilities for those who have an apparent need and because of the chronicity of their situation, are not suited to present medium-secure services and because of the sternness of their symptoms are not appropriate for general learning disability services”. The problem they create is hard to restrain within a typical community setting. In this article, a survey is undertaken for the need of people with learning disabilities and challenging behavior to be located in a secure care. Where restricted long stay secure service offering a series of security process and focusing on individuals that exhibits aggression and inappropriate behavior.

The independent sector has been rapid in responding to medium secure care beds and improved its short-and long-term care capability. An increasing demand for out-of-area placements by NHS providers for high quality services leads to a costly and out of place as they are distant to the individual’s home. Opposing to a target set by The National Service Framework (NHS Executive 1999) for mental health services to care for people as close to their home and community. A finding shown an almost lack of provision for individuals with learning disabilities and challenging behavior. And evidences suggest that this is a growing and continuing problem. Where it was determined a need for update in the assessment to settle on characteristics of individuals with learning disabilities to be placed in a secure service. And the development of a service design and expansion of a relevant local service, treatment (OATs) or other specialist placements.

With a high response rate to the survey, it was expected that most of the individuals with learning disability and challenging behavior who required secure care were identified. Most of the placements were in private secure setting, several miles away from the Consortium area, while private sector was competent to build up appropriate services to meet the clients need, and none of them are restricted to the consortium area. The obscurity in accessing these services is maintaining associates with families and local services or simple access in monitoring care and progress of the individuals concerned. However, the challenge in the majority of the cases was the need to control the violence and sexually aggressive behavior. And in addition appropriate curative and rehabilitative process is the center, and more vitally, services that provides outreach and sturdy links with community that facilitates regularity.

This article was somehow different from the others, especially in the way of managing the clients who shows challenging behavior. Thought it also deals with treating and managing people with learning disability and difficult behavior by placing

categorizing and placing them in a secure setting. Its focus is on providing secure care for people showing aggressive behavior to facilitate eventual return of some individual in a community-based provision.

Overall the literature sought the necessity in understanding and managing people with learning disabilities and difficult behavior is still a major problem faced by the government, agencies, care providers, and community. As Ball et al (2004), Fieldsman et al (2004) stated that the current intervention of choice for challenging behavior is based on behavioral principles and should categorize the function of the target behavior and teach functionally equivalent adaptive skills. In studying and searching for the enhancement of better interventions, strategies and administration for people with learning disability and challenging behavior was still in progress. But somehow, it was pointed out in the reviews that one of the difficulties in improving interventions is lack of ability in following behavioral guidelines. This causes intrusive, controlling and reactive approach and inappropriate strategies from care providers and carers in dealing the difficult behavior.

All reviews have given all necessary information needed by the author to understand and able to apply in practice. The reviews where helpful in comparing the interventions and strategies applied in the area of practice of the author in managing people with learning disabilities and difficult behavior. Wherein setting of guidelines was mentioned to all articles given to be followed in order to deliver a better way of dealing challenging behavior. Thought still most services fail to properly implement strategy within their area of practice.

The author is aware that all literature review included in these research is finding ways to improve the life of people with challenging behavior. These could be helpful in the progress of managing people with learning disability. As Feldman et al (2004) said that people with learning disability and challenging behavior cannot be managed by an individual alone without the necessary skills, trainings, and set of guidelines to safely deliver care to the client, as it will turn the staff to controlling and displaying a reactive approach.

Two research articles have been chosen for critical evaluation in the preceding literature review. The articles chosen will be critically evaluated in order to identify its effectiveness in helping people especially the carers dealing with learning disability and difficult behavior. First is using Periodic Service Review (PSR) in the article, Difficulties faced by social care staff when managing challenging behavior which extends the work of McKenzie et al (2005a). And the second is using The Signposts for Building Better Behavior program by Hudson et al (2001) in the article, Wide-scale implementation of a support program for parents with children with intellectual disability and difficult behavior. Although both articles were not identified as to weather a qualitative study or a quantitative study, the author finds it still helpful in producing the research assignment. And the studies are still valuable as to be critically evaluated and analyzed using differing research methodologies to compare and contrast.

Title

The Periodic Service Review (PSR) as a guideline used in the managing of challenging behaviour faced by social care workers which extends the work of McKenzie et al (2005a) shows applicable for the research content. It can be beneficial for the comparison of other approach in dealing with behavioural difficulty among people with learning disability. Hudson et al (2001) Signposts for Building Better Behaviour program, can be considerably vital in setting standard in supporting people to manage difficult behaviour. It is considerable that both studies are useful and can be applied in helping the author to find better ways to manage people with learning disability and difficult behaviour.

Abstract

The Periodic Service Review (PSR) abstract has clearly identified its use, aims, limitations and why it is used in delivering effective management for people with challenging and learning difficulty. But somehow at some point it is not clearly expanded as to whether the method was effective. Hence, the present study staff reported that though there is no difficulty in implementing the guidelines, but putting it into practice is low. As comparing the difference between services that implementing formal guidelines and those who did not use guidelines. Comparing it to the Signposts for Building Better Behaviour by Hudson et al (2001), where the study is substantial and contents such aim and question, methodology, results are present. And progress in the study was included as the result of reported response from the participants. Furthermore, it is informative and giving choices for people on how to get support in managing clients with learning disability and difficult behaviour.

Introduction/Literature Review

The Periodic Service Review as it was done randomly selecting staff on shift by the time it was carried out, I found it inappropriate in conducting a research as to disregarding consent. Though all participants’ response was confidential and the organisation assured that participation is voluntary. However, the aim of the study was clearly identifiable and well discussed and limitations were stated. A comparison between formal and informal interventions was mentioned and areas of difficulty were bullet pointed. Basically the research was able to answer aims and question and previous study was included though these article was subject for double blind review. The Periodic Service Review was used to evaluate the staffs’ approach to challenging behaviour and their outcome relevant to the previous study by evaluating the impact of training to staff practice (MacKenzie et al 2002). Somehow the study showed basis of difficulty where staff is lacking in dealing the challenging behaviour. The study was also limited lacking in statistical analysis because staff participation is diminutive to make contrast and all parts of the PSR was not conducted to working setting as to avoid disruption of clients routine. Though it may direct to some score inaccuracy the reviews were completed in a proper setting thus make factors of the study affected to be nominal. The study is typically qualitative as it provides comprehensive discussion of the topic research and explains purpose of the study.

Signposts for Building Better behaviour by Hudson et al (2001), was designed to help parents of children with intellectual disability and difficult behaviour. Partly the study is to indicate whether clinical interventions are considered as efficacy or effectiveness research. But considered as dissemination research as it evaluates strategies in spreading knowledge of new interventions and encourage in adopting the service, Sanders (2003). This research is quantitative as it provides wide survey where large numbers of participants both parents and carers participated in the program. Though the research answer aims/question and a purpose, the study is complex as it is huge type of survey and funded by organizations. As it was a long process of evaluating whether the signposts is effective and helpful in providing parents and carers in developing their own action plan in managing the difficult behaviour. Part of the study also is to evaluate participants that participate in the evaluation. As to compare outcomes from those who completed and not completed pre test, post test and follow up assessment. The research did consider ethical issue as gaining consent and participants were given anonymous identification number for the questionnaire before analysis. Indeed when compared to Periodic Service Review the latter is more complicated as many information and wide discussion of topic is considered.

Methodology

The Periodic Service Review study can be considered as cross-comparison research which to compare policies, practices, events and people as stated by Parahoo (2006). As its main purpose of the research is to monitor a consistent implementation of guidelines and service quality could be improved. Through reading this article it was hard for me to identify an appropriate research methodology, without mentioning in the discussion at the beginning even makes it harder. But based from what I have understand a semi-structured interview was conducted and score is calculated and 80 percent or above indicates service quality. Which comparisons are made between services who reported as using formal behavioural guidelines made by health professionals and those who use informal guidelines. But the study suggests that despite having the formal guidelines, still it was not implemented consistently and appropriate. Due to staff lack of knowledge and training in managing challenging behaviour. Though participants were randomly selected a questionnaire or survey was used in the study to evaluate areas where service could be improved. Parahoo (2006) and Burns (2009) suggest that questionnaires are valuable tools for research in both qualitative and quantitative data collection. Variables were not present but figures and statistics are used but groups were not analyse statistically instead descriptive statistics was used to analyse the results. On the other hand, Signposts for Building Better Behaviour by Hudson et al (2001), follows a quantitative approach due to statistical analysis, using numeric values in interpreting results. Using scale to assess and measure participant’s response as Burns and Grove (2006) says that “scale type question are more precise way of measuring phenomena”. For the result of the comparison of two groups who participate in the evaluation those who completed post test assessment and who did not, chi-square analyses and t-test was carried out.

On comparing both research articles it was not easy for the first article to identify methodology. Unlike the latter it was stated in the abstract valuable facts in the research. But thorough reading the Periodic Service Review its facts and contents will enable you to determine research purpose and intentions. As it provides clear explanation of what is the research all about which making it more interesting to read. Although the study is limited not to disrupt clients routine, all participants’ response is confidential as they were selected randomly. Thus, Signpost for building better behaviour where inclusion of only necessary data was collected, control group was not included as to previous study by Hudson et al (2003), which improves the current study.

Sample size from the first research article where 23 participants are randomly selected, thus make it more convenient for the researcher to achieve desired outcome. But none of the service achieved 80 percent acceptable level of performance, due to lack knowledge and training. Unlike the Signpost for building better behaviour where 2,119 participated including parents and carers in the program that lasted for an18 month period. Which desired outcome and result was considered successful.

Result

McKenzie et al (2005a) Periodic Service Review was explained in both descriptive and showing the range in percentage and mean of each guidelines where formal and informal approach was made to able to find or target difficulties. Wherein each care staff participated will identify difficulties by reporting as to whether formal guidelines in the setting are more helpful than those using informal strategies. But was not able to score high and reach a target of 80 percent as the suitable stage of performance, whereas, those who applies informal approach who scores high but does not able to identify difficulty and enumerate it consistently. Comparing to the result of Hudson et al (2001) Signpost for Building Better Behaviour, where intimidating and difficult to understand as it was too immense to thorough reading and interprets results of each table as to different programme stages. The difference and comparisons of tables from those parents participated for pre-test and post tests. This resulted successfully in increasing parenting efficacy wherein signposts program aim is to educate parent’s common skills in managing the behaviour of their child. Thus all family who completed Signpost where able to make and provide their own strategy and action plan in dealing their child’s challenging behaviour. The author of this dissertation was able to understand the useful ways to manage and understand the importance of assessing the level of need in trying to incorporate strategies in the clinical area. And may find it useful not only in the area of practice but people who will be interested in gaining knowledge in dealing difficult behaviour. Moreover, the writer could be able to answer question for the reasons on undertaking this dissertation and therefore share the knowledge and equally give her piece of what has been achieved based on literature reviews taken and compared.

Discussion and Conclusions

In the discussion by Mckenzie et al (2005a) periodic service review considered numbers of limitations, as limit geographical group was participating as not to interrupt clients. It was stated that majority of services that received formal guidelines was able to enumerate and lists down target behaviour. This is essential in allowing a suitable efficient analogy and customized intervention, whereas, monitoring and evaluating usefulness of the interventions. Researchers in these study points out that however there is a formal guideline used widely by the services or care providers it is still difficult to put into practice constantly and properly. Thus the researcher also critically analyse by mentioning reasons why it is not execute consistently, which one of the main reasons was support staff working without enough skills and training, as well as knowledge in working with client with challenging behaviour. The conclusion made was simply suggests that even an existence of a formal guideline is implemented it does not guarantee that they will be executed properly and constantly. That it is essential to develop a need for an innovative approach including organizational obligation, staff training and concerning the entire service group in a collaborative approach. Since in the beginning of this study, the researchers are finding ways and reasons why despite the wide implementation of a formal guideline, services were still failing to apply strategies in targeting difficult behaviour.

Hudson et al (2001) Signpost for building better behaviour discussion was sufficiently discussed providing the positive outcomes of the research and interpreting the results base on the tables of each program. Wherein the program aim is to help parents, carers in providing support for children with Intellectual disability and challenging behaviour. The Signpost is delivery of useful materials such as guidelines including videotape on how to implement strategies in dealing aggression and getting support by a telephone call and enable parents and carers to produce their own action plan specific to the children they dealt with. Although it a long research process was conducted, reports of parents and carers who able to produce their own action plans stated that they are less hassled by the children by the help of Signpost which is appropriately implemented. It was also stated that it was disappointing for the researchers that huge number of participants who are nominated in the evaluation and completed pre tests, did not carry on to completing post tests or go after assessment. Researchers in these study finds it significant to match up the standard cost of delivery of an essentially preventive program such as Signposts to the expenses related with interventions for individuals who previously developed stern behavioural challenges. And in conclusion the association of the current pre-test and post test differences from earlier study is improving considerably bigger than those in the control group in the earlier study. Furthermore, there was no recommendations included, which the author of this dissertation finds it essential in reading and applying into practice. This is essential and could help in looking for the reason that helps in conducting the study.

Introduction

For the final piece of my dissertation, relevant areas and issues will be identified, resulting from the literature reviews that were undertaken. To come up to a discussion of specific areas of interest of the author which applies to the place of work and people who will be reading it. The finding of better ways in managing and understanding learning disability and challenging behaviour, together with underlying issues of failing to acknowledge proper ways to deal with people in the spectrum, despite of numerous support and trainings. These will also help the author to trying to come up to find a preventive measure, making practical solutions and problem solving.

People with learning disability may demonstrate challenging behaviour in various reason and stimuli. It can be difficulties associated with severe communication and social interaction whereas make the individual to show anxiety, feeling of confusion and frustration. And for this reason, they have the difficulty to express their self and have no effective way to respond but instead showing aggression and difficult behaviour. Which by undertaking the literature review that the DoH (2001) explained that individuals with learning disability have deficit ability to comprehend complex information and carry out and or be trained into new skills. Therefore it is essential that carers must be good communicators, allowing them to be more responsive to clients needs and to engage them on therapeutic level. The author of this dissertation will once again introduce area of practice, role and reasons in conducting and finding relevant answers to her question. In addition, relate the different literature reviews to place of practice as to whether it is applicable and happening. The author of this dissertation is a student from The University of Winchester, taking a degree programme Bsc Professional Practice in Health and Social Care. And have been into practice placement as a support worker for people with moderate to severe learning disability and autism. The area of practice is located at North London in a community based residential home. As a support worker for people with learning disability, our main role and job description is to support them in every possible way from the basic such as helping in personal care and domestic maintenance. This includes following the companies written care plan for clients, familiarize with clients support plan and strategies in implementing daily activities. Apart from that, is giving medication, taking and recording of structured teaching plan, and strategies in dealing with challenging behaviour.

Whilst deliberating the topic for my dissertation, the author was trying to incorporate all the given literature review as to whether it is happening in the practice. If such reviews will be able to answer questions the author is looking up to purposely use in the area of practice. Upon thoroughly reading articles related to the topic the author find out that the current intervention in dealing with challenging behaviour for people with learning disability is based on behavioural principles and must be dealt with classified reason of the target behaviour and prepare them for functionally equal adaptive skills as mentioned by Ball et al (2004), Feldman et al (2004). The author could say that in the area of practice support worker and workforce is still finding the best way to understand and come across in implementing strategies that will be suitable in dealing with difficult behaviour. Therefore results from these reviews were conflicting in terms that however there is efficient application of ways to manage challenging behaviour, services was not able to constantly implement it because of carers’ lack of skills and knowledge and carers who does not have qualifications to support clients with learning disability and challenging behaviour. As a support worker it is our responsibility to put into practice whatever trainings and knowledge we can contribute in helping our clients in attending to their needs. Therefore the services were not setting standard as to hiring people to work with enough qualification as to dealing with learning disability. But on the contrary, services looking after for people with learning disability should not be blamed in hiring people without qualification as it will save service cost and it is difficult to hire people who are tough to handle and end up being beaten by the clients during aggression and difficult behaviour. However there is presence of strategies in managing the situation, as incidents and accidents can happen at any time during difficulty takes place.

As a support worker, based on experience the training and support was given to confidently apply strategies to deal with learning disability that shows aggression, still it is difficult to manage them. As to difficult behaviour varied into such intensity and duration of sudden occurrence hence might threaten the safety and welfare of individuals thus preventing them from engaging them to community activities. As McKenzie et al (2005a) said that use of conflicting and reactive strategies may in turn as a contributing factor to the elevation of challenging behaviour. But as a support worker for clients with learning disability, reactive strategy is unintentionally used to manage clients who show aggression and difficulty. For example if clients begins to get impatient for a certain activity and show aggression as to hurting itself and others, even strategies to calm them does not work then cancellation of the activity is done to give to the client the idea that aggression has its consequences. Which in my view could be a form of punishment for the client as punishment could take form of aversive stimuli or taking away of desired item or activity. Thus it focuses on consequences of what had happen after the behaviour. Hence, did not look unto what happened before the behaviour that had trigger to showing the difficult behaviour. This was mentioned in the article the author have read and included in her dissertation. As the result of the Periodic Service Review had stated that thought there is formal guidelines, services still fail to appropriately report the target behaviour.

Upon discussing the results of the articles and literature reviews and making a way in applying them into practice, the author will then once again discussed literature review results undergone in this dissertation to able to compare and can be apply to practice. From thoroughly reading the Periodic Service Review result by McKenzie et al (2005a) the writer can carefully compare its used and application to the area of practice by starting with the similarities of ways in managing challenging behaviour and comparisons to what area it fails. The article had brought me to realize and learn where practice should be improved. As it was mentioned in the article that however there is formal guidelines applied in the service, an enduring difficulty in constantly implement and efficiently used in managing clients, services were still cannot consistently apply it. Due to underlying reason such as staff lack of training and knowledge, thus less experience on how to manage challenging behaviour. It was also emphasize that formal guidelines will not certify if it is properly implemented and it is vital to develop increase innovative approach with the help of organizational obligation, staff training and collaborative approach. As a support worker in the area of my practice however there is support provided by the company in educating all their staff by conducting trainings, seminars and team meetings. Thus all support workers have attended and participated, still failed to correctly implement it to practice as evidenced by incident reports and increase in giving medication for settling the client. Based on observation the author could conclude that support workers fail to recognize the need to assess the reason before the client had showed difficult behaviour. Clients with learning disability as mentioned at the beginning of this dissertation as people who has disorder of one or more developmental which involves understanding and communication by Emerson (2001). Therefore it makes them less able to verbalize, speak and explain insights and or solving problems. And were changes will be difficult to introduce as people with learning disability conforms to sameness. Challenging behaviour could therefore be compared to an iceberg in the sea as what we only see is the visible part and not knowing that underneath the water is a part that is still connected.

Whereas Signpost for Building Better Behaviour by Hudson et al (2001) were most of the focus are into helping parents and carers of children to actively support and come up to their own action plan in dealing with challenging behaviour. This will help in teaching their children with learning disability to overcome difficult behaviour as parents will taught them to manage by the help of strategies in a guidebook before difficult behaviour come to a high level that requires intensive intervention by professional services. Hence, will help parents and carers to be less hassled and satisfied in managing their child. However this review was focus on managing children with learning difficulty and challenging behaviour the subject matter could be somehow applicable to the practice area of the writer. Thus can be helpful in applying in practice by trying to get to the core of the main reason why clients with learning disability shows aggression, and manage it before it will rise up to a level where need for intensive professional approach is needed. Moreover, this literature review on the writers view in connection to finding answer to her research topic, somehow had given a chance to compare strategies that can be applied to her practice as well as compare the difference and similarities. Wherein Signpost for building better behaviour uses professional guidebook, enclose videos, and equipment for assessment in helping parents and carers to manage children with intellectual difficulty and challenging behaviour. In connection to the authors practice area, upon dealing with clients with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour a series of different guidebook and videos was also used to be able to manage the clients. Of such guidebook which is more particular in showing the clients acceptable behaviours in the level of their understanding. In example were the social stories, daily care plan, and video tracking of structured teaching plan.

The possibilities of the results from the articles, as the author look unto it can be possibly applied in the practice, because based on experience as a support worker for clients with learning difficulties and challenging behaviour, where monitoring of staffs performance is evaluated and as to whether standard application of interventions is maintained. And assessing the need for updating the trainings to help staff refresh their knowledge in dealing their clients. Moreover, in the setting were the author is working, similar to the explanation made in the article where introducing of new innovative approach, organizational obligation and collaborative approach is essential as to seek help from a group of services hand in hand to appropriately implement proper management in dealing clients with learning disability. The British Psychological Society and The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2009) said that co-ordination between services, that in the occurrence of complex needs, it is excellent practice to seek on expertise from mental health experts, older peoples’ mental health, generic dementia, and services for learning disability. Thus, the company where the author is practicing, collaboration between different services is present in helping all support workers to have a constant guide in managing clients with learning disability. This also includes team meetings whenever there is a need for raising concerns that is connected to any difficulties the staffs have been dealing in the workplace. For example, during meetings staff is given the chance to speak out observation and experiences as to whether there is a need to change any interventions or rather update the strategies in the management of difficult behaviour. As a support worker the one who truly have the knowledge in dealing clients are those who works closely with the client.

For the next question that the author of this dissertation will find as to whether results can be applied and the difference could it make in the practice. The author would confidently say that it would be applicable at some point wherein, improving where the literature review results had failed. It is applicable at some point because based on working with clients with learning disability and dealing with challenging behaviour, as a support worker the experience I have gained and realize that while doing this research it made the author understand the necessity to pay attention to better improve the need of her clients. Wherein, applying all trainings that was given by the company and avoid disregarding such into practice and not to be conform how recent practice goes as to avoiding change. As results from the literature reviews that few reasons such as difficulty recognizing the target behaviour. For the authors view and knowledge about challenging behaviour, could therefore be triggered by a disorder in the receptive communication which leads to anxiety and confusion for clients with learning disability. Hence, make them find hard to understand what other people are saying and unable to understand what is happening around them. Thus, showing difficult behaviour could be a way of communicating for them as the most effective manner for them to get a response. Which on the other hand, people who give response could conclude as a form of aggression and make them execute reactive strategies without assessing the need to find what triggers the challenging behaviour. It was stated by British Institute of Learning Disabilities, undated, Jefferies (2009), that intensive contact such as giving massage and therapy may be beneficial for people with learning difficulty who find communication difficult.

The literature review results undertaken in this dissertation therefore help the author to further elaborate applicability and the difference it could make. As the author had mentioned that application of the results can be implemented into practice but with further improving to where it has failed. Therefore includes improving the practice by applying consistently gained skills and trainings, advance response in dealing difficult behaviour as knowing the things that could trigger the action, reviewing of clients record as to care plan, teaching sessions, and preparing activities. Moreover, updating knowledge and skills through trainings and supervisions, and participating giving ideas that could help in producing better ways in dealing with clients during team meetings. Since people with learning disability clients are dependable to their service provider, wherein, individualized planning is essential as Sanderson (2007) stated that individual focus set up forms a basis of government policy and the personalisation programme for Valuing People Now (DH 2009b), which enabling care plans to integrate appropriate individualised interventions and activities. The used appropriate individual planning is used in authors practice in dealing with the clients. As these will help in advance on how to execute daily routines, people with learning disability lives in conformity of routines and sameness hence, make it difficult to introduce new functional activities.

For example, based on the authors experience as a support worker, regarding the video tracking, where clients are being taught of some functional activities such as doing the laundry, making cup of tea, and cooking. Choices are being introduced to the client to find their preferences if the activity will be enjoyable for them or could trigger them to act to violence. If client is willing to do the activity staff to show a folder of pictures for the clients guide on what is going to happen next. Therefore, it will help the client to lessen confusion about the activity. Throughout the course of activity video recording is done, where all staff should follow the same procedures. The aim of video tracking is to see staffs performance and compare prompts that were used to the client. Is all staff follow the given prompts together with the pictures, thus allow conformity to the clients as similar prompts were used by all staff. Moreover, the activity will help client to gain independence in simple daily routines as the companies aim is to enabling people with learning disabilities to lead ordinary lives. In the course where clients are aggressive and show difficult behaviour it is safer to perform non-reactive and restraint-free interventions. As restraint may take many forms which includes physical, environmental, or chemical wherein, The British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD 2008) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC 2010) had provided guiding principles on seclusion and restraint and the human rights and dignity of people with learning disability. Whereas, improper physical intervention comprises assault or negligence that can lead to criminal prosecution. It was taught during training that given by the company where the author is practicing, that applying non-violent intervention can be applied in crisis prevention and creation of restraint free environments. There may be times when other strategies, such as continuing verbal intervention, removing dangerous objects, using personal safety techniques and calling for further assistance, would precede and possibly prevent any physical intervention.

Recommendations

Therefore at this point the author of this dissertation will look on the practices and considerations where practice can be further improved. Following a complete review of the literature relating to understanding and managing people with learning disability and challenging behaviour, the Author is able to conclude with recommendations for practice relevant to own area of practice.

Following where the literature review results undertaken on understanding and managing learning disability and challenging behaviour, where most staff had failed to recognized the need to evaluate what triggers the client and focuses on the course of action. Staff should be aware at all times on underlying cause of the actions. Applying all strategies provided by services, companies to where your practice is undertaking.

This recommendation was made with consideration to whether where is the writer or reader is practicing. As we all knew that different services and companies have their own written guidelines on how they dealt with clients with learning disability and difficult behaviour. But most of these services are similar on their aims as to provide quality care and safely provide interventions to help clients cope up difficulty.

Applying all learned skills during trainings, team meetings and protocols within practice area as constant as possible. Avoiding conformity as how things goes within the practice area, and must be open to new set of interventions being introduced. Especially if both staff and people with learning disability will benefit from it.

Some evidence in the literature reviews undertaken suggests that applying individual based intervention can be beneficial as to appropriately manage challenging behaviour where assessment to individual client is done to provide direct action specified to the level of needs and understanding of the client. By creating action plan where staff could used to own advantage to lessen anxiety and stress at the area of practice.

Support workers, carers and other organizational services should help each other in finding a better management of difficulty within the workplace by providing support where staff needed and monitoring the improvement and outcomes during regular team meetings and implementing new approaches which can be useful in the area.

Majority of the article in this dissertation had pointed out that the need for support workers to be fully equipped with knowledge and understanding in managing clients with difficulties includes openness to change. As staff should not conform into provided guidelines as it does not guarantee to be implemented consistently at all times. The development of new strategies and interventions with the help of other organization and collaborative approach will be essential in any area of practice.

Avoiding the use of a reactive approach or physical intervention as to restraint and seclusion, which will bring negative stress sometimes called distress to the client being restrained and or secluded.

Staff should remember that there are risks involved in any reactive and physical interventions. Where specific laws or policies may govern use of restraints, staff must check their organization’s policies and procedure for applicable rules.

The used of therapeutic rapport, or communication as response during the individual’s tension reduction is beneficial in attempting to talk to the person.

If the tension reduction occurs during the event of aggression, it is best to reassure client after assessing that staff are not going to harm them. Then these allow some time for the client to calm and regain rationality. As this form a verbal contract to client and allow them to make their own choices while staffs still maintain control, where should another violent outburst occur.

Conclusion

Understanding and Managing Learning Disability and Challenging Behaviour was indeed made the writer feel frustrated in trying to come up to a better way of presenting it in this dissertation. But through ongoing to the different literature review, critically analyzing evidence based results and finding the applicability to practice. The topic requires careful considerations where application of different interventions and strategies to consistently manage clients with difficulties, had made the writer to compare the review of literature undertaken to the area of practice. Based on the information gathered and researching related topics to my dissertation question, I was able to choose relevant literature reviews. This had created an impact to the authors chosen topic and find answer to her research question. The fact that all review of literature taken had given all process in implementing interventions and strategies to effectively manage challenging behaviour by means of Periodic Service Review and Signpost for building better behaviour which the author had both critique.

Upon conducting the whole process of this dissertation, the author had acknowledged that even in the event were services implement guidelines, action plans, reactive approaches, and other forms of interventions in managing and understanding learning disability and challenging behaviour, still it was not guaranteed that all service providers will appropriately and constantly implement it to the work area. Though enough training and support are provided in the service several staff still fail to properly target the reason behind client’s outburst and aggression. Hence the author had compared the reasoning into an iceberg in the sea. Wherein what we see is the only visible part and not the underlying part of it under the water. But then, the whole process of the dissertation had given the author benefits in undertaking this piece. As a support worker for people with learning disability and challenging behaviour, I still consider myself as a neophyte in this field of practice. Thus, it made me fortunate to be in line with this kind of practice, as it raised my curiosity to fully engage and finds way to help my clients in supporting them to overcome such difficulty. Which on the other hand, as the author of this dissertation, I have faced difficulties such as trying to critique review of literature where the author does not qualify expertise on that part of the dissertation. But somehow with the help of guides in producing the dissertation, I was able to make amends on it. Critiquing two studies has enabled the author to be certain that the knowledge acquired and recommendations for practice was made through evidence based.

The author believes that all research is a useful to any services that dealt with people in spectrum though not all research conducted were successful, critiquing allows the author to entirely examine and compare research in order to reveal the best method of practice. However, the need for further education regarding research process to properly understand results is needed as the author had faced difficulties in understanding research methodology. But through conducting this dissertation the author has not only gained extensive amount of knowledge of research processes as well as understanding and managing learning disability and challenging behaviour.

The author of this dissertation had gained knowledge which had brought positive impact upon further improving in the area of practice. And will therefore share the knowledge to her work colleagues to work as a team in implementing evidence based practice in supporting people with learning disabilities and properly execute appropriate and constant intervention in managing difficult behaviour. The author therefore will indicate that this research process had answered her topic question.

REFERRENCES:

Ager, A., and O’May, F. (2001) ‘Issues in the Definition and Implementation of “Best Practice” for Staff Delivery of Interventions for Challenging Behaviour’, Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability,26, (3): 243-56.

Ball, T., Bush, A., Emerson, E. (2004) Psychological Interventions for Severely Challenging Behaviour Shown by People with Learning Disabilities; Clinical practice guidelines. British Psychological Society. Leicester.

BPS (2004) Clinical Practice Guidelines: Psychological Interventions for Severely Challenging Behaviours Shown by People with Learning Disabilities. Leicester: British Psychological Society.

BPS/ RCP/ RCLST ( 2007) Challenging Behaviour. A Unified Approach. London: British Psychological Society/ Royal College of Psychiatrists.

British Institute of Learning Disabilities (2008) Factsheet: Chemical Restraint. BILD, Kidderminster.

British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2009) Dementia and People With Learning Disabilities. Guidance on the Assessment, Diagnosis, Treatment and Support of People With Learning Disabilities Who Develop Dementia. The British Psychological Society, Leicester.

Burns, N. and Grove, S. (2006) Understanding nursing research 4th Edition. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.

Campbell, M. (2008) ‘The Impact of Training on Cognitive Representation of Challenging Behaviour in Staff Working with Adults with Learning Disabilities’, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 21 (6): 561-74.

Campbell, M. (2010) ‘Workforce Development and Challenging Behaviour: Training staff to treat, to manage, or to cope?, Journal of Intellectual Disabilities; September 2010, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p185-196,12p.

Care Quality Commission (2010) Control and Restraint. http://uny.cc/qjf6j (Last accessed: July 25, 2011.)

Department of Health (2001) Chapter 8- Quality Services’ in Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century. DH, London.

Department of Health (2009b) Valuing People Now: A New Three-Year Strategy for People with Learning Disabilities. DH, London.

Department of Health (2001a) Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disabilities for the 21st Century. DH, London.

Emerson, E. (2001) Challenging Behaviour: analysis and Intervention in people with severe intellectual disabilities. 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press, 1995,2001. Printed in the UK at the University Press, Cambridge.

Emerson, E., Cunnings, R., Barret, S., Hughes, H., McCool, C., Toogood, A. (1988) Challenging behaviour and community services 2: Who are the people who challenge servicesMental Handicap. 16. p16-19.

Emerson, E., Robertson, J., Gregory, N., Hatton, C., Kessissoglou, S., Hallam, A., Hillery, J. (2000) Treatment and management of challenging behaviours in residential settings. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. 13. p197-215.

Feldman, M.A., Altkinson, L., Forti-Cerias, L., Condillac ,R. (2004) Formal versus informal interventions for challenging behaviour in persons with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. 48. 1. p60-68.

Gentry, M., Iceton, J., Milne, D. (2001) Managing challenging behaviour in the community: Method and results of interactive staff training. Health and Social care in the Community. 9, 3. p143-150.

Grey I.M., Hastings R.P., and McLean, B. (2007) ‘Staff Training and Challenging Behaviour’, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, Editorial 20, 1-5.

Hudson, A., Cameron, C., Matthews, J. (2008) The wide-scale implementation of a support program for parents of children with intellectual disability and difficult behaviour. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability; June 2008, Vol.33, Issue 2, p117-126, 10p.

Hudson, A., Matthews, J., Gavidia-Payne, S., Cameron, C., Nankervis, K., Radler, G., and Mildon, R.(2001) Report to the Department of Human Services on the development and trialing of Signpost for Building Better Behaviour, a support package for parents of children with an intellectual disability and difficult behaviour. Melbourne: RMIT University.

Hudson, A.M., Matthews, J.M., Gavida-Payne, S.T., Cameron, C.A., Mildon, R.L., Radler, G.A., and Nankervis, K.L. (2003). Evaluation of an intervention system for parents of children with intellectual disability and challenging behaviour. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 47 (4-5), 238-249.

Kearns, A. (2001) Forensic services and people with learning disability: in the shadow of Reed Report, Forensic Psychiatry, 12 (1): 8-12.

La Vigna, G.W., Willis, T.J., Shaull, J.F., Abedi, M., Sweitzer ,M. (1994) The Periodic Service Review: A total quality assurance system for human services and education. Brooks, Baltimore.

McKenzie, K., MacLean, H., Megson, P., Reid, K. (2005a) Behaviours that challenge. Learning Disability Practice. 8. 9. p16-19.

McKenzie, K., Rae, H., McLean, H., Megson, P., Wilson, S. (2006) Difficulties faced by social care staff when managing challenging behaviour. Learning Disability Practice ; March 2006, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p28-32, 5p.

NHS Executive (1999). National Service Framework for mental health, modern standards, and service models. London, Department of Health.

Parahoo, K. (2006) Nursing research principles, process, and issues. London: Macmillan.

Sanders, M.R. (2003). The translation of evidence-based parenting program into regular clinical services. Australian e-journal for the Advancement of Mental Health, 2(3). Available at: www.auseinet.com/journal/vol2iss3/sanderseditorial.pdf

Twenty-fourth Annual Report to Congress, U.S. Department of Education, (2002). www.medicinenet.com /learning_disability/article.htm MedicineNet.com. ( Last Accessed: July 6,2011)

Thompson , C.L., and Reid, A. (2002) ‘Behavioural Symptoms among People with Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities: A 26-Year Follow-Up Study’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 181(1): 67-71.

University of Winchester (2011) Enquiring Into Healthcare Practice (FYP)

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Free Essays

Understanding the causes of things’ requires the social scientist to be aware of the trade-off between generalising across cases and understanding individual cases. What are the implications of this for conducting and using research in the social sciences?

Introduction

The social sciences branch out into different fields ranging from economics to anthropology, with each respective field employing different research models and methodologies varying in degree of specificity. Strengths and weaknesses of methodologies, as well as characteristics of research findings differ depending on this degree of specificity and generality.

Moving towards a higher degree of generality equips us with broader perspectives, but also results in us compromising on accuracy and sacrificing the detail that comes with specificity. Though trade-offs exist between generalization and specificity, they do not negate each other’s individual values and merits, and both remain equally important. Hence, it is imperative that we are aware of the limitations and trade-offs associated with research methods adopted (based on their degree of specificity), so that we can take measures to combat these limitations and minimize the trade-offs, and conduct research in a balanced way that would work best in line with our goals in varied contexts, whether in policy planning or academia.

One trade-off that arises is largely related to efficiency. As social science research gets increasingly specific, it becomes time-consuming to focus on individual cases. (Neill, 2007) Also, going into excessive detail requires large amounts of resources, and may not be worth the cost depending on what the research findings can ultimately offer. On the other hand, if we over-simplify and generalize across cases, we may overlook details crucial for policy implementation success, and inefficient outcomes can still arise.

Conventional ethnography is a highly precise, qualitative research process involving long term field visits, participant roles and time extensity to gather insider information about the way of life and values in the field of study. (Knoblauch, 2005) As some believe that an observer is unable to be neutral and objective or operate outside their own value systems and assumptions, conventional ethnography is considered inefficient to some, since this experimentally intensive research could end up producing highly contextualised and subjective findings that are inaccurate and unreliable. (Laragy, 2006) Furthermore, findings may be exclusive to that specific area of research, limiting its application across the larger population.

In Rita Astuti’s case study (Astuti, 1999), ethnographic findings of one Vezo woman’s day-to-day life offer in-depth, intimate knowledge about her motivations and values on a personal level that the application of general research methods might have missed out on. However, such knowledge is limited in providing a broader understanding of overall trends across the whole diverse Vezo population, and the study of just one woman’s activities might be too small a sample size to generalize findings across the entire population.

Lack of awareness of such a trade-off can lead to the implementation of myopic policies. In Madagascar, a tension exists between the conservationist and the Malagasy ethos. The Malagasy ethos is founded on having an ever-growing net of descendants, which, based on the conservationist ethos, is overpopulation and a threat to achieving equilibrium among different species on the planet. The politically, and immensely more powerful conservationist ethos works towards limiting the unsustainable growth of the Malagasy, to create a broad equilibrium among all the different species in the Masoala peninsula. (Keller, 2008) However, simply adopting this general stance without assigning value to the unique nature of Malagasy kinship, can lead to policy resistance and serious obstacles in policy implementation. Brute-forcing conservation policies could also lead to the devastation of local culture. By recognising what Keller’s specific ethnographic research unearths about the Malagasy’s views of conservationist policies, measures like educating local farmers about the necessity of having fewer children to safeguard their future becomes essential. Thus, what one might criticise as ‘time-consuming/ inefficient’ and ‘overly-specific’ research might in actual fact help craft policy solutions that address contextual problems, avoiding ineffectual and inefficient one-dimensional policies, and ultimately, it depends on what the country prioritises.

Human understanding also constitutes part of the tension between generality and specificity. In social science research, general measures and data are more comprehensible and comparable than specific, complex ones that could require specialized knowledge.

An implication of this is that measures should be chosen to suit goals for which the data measured is being used to achieve. For example, for poverty measures, the UN adopts the simple US$1-a-day indicator. This universal measure is useful in raising awareness and generating political momentum, as it aggregates and standardises the picture of poverty at an international level and can mobilise mass global effort. (Maxwell, 1999) This indicator points to symptoms of poverty but omits other aspects, like the social side of poverty, and might thus be too thin a measure. The Human Poverty Index (HPI) however, is a measure that delves into the comprehensive specifics of relative poverty. (UNDP HDR, 2011) It is sensitive to local perceptions of poverty in different areas, and addresses the causes of poverty more directly, though the dimensions involved are more subjective and hence complex to consider. Nevertheless, the UN’s choice of ‘US$1-a-day’ as a headline measure can be attributed to how it works best in helping the UN achieve a realistic goal. A thick, qualitative measure like the HPI, would involve more complications like how much weight to assign to different components of the index and would perhaps be more useful for analysis and detailed planning of tackling diverse poverty causes in particular regions.

Another trade-off between generality and specificity is predictability. Generalization allows for greater predictability, as the overarching model formed based upon recurring trends and past events enable transferability of understandings to novel situations. (Shiveley, 2009) Generalization also allows one to make and test bold statements in different contexts, spurring new findings on how applicable the theory is in predicting certain events. (Eyler, 2010)

However, generalization may fall apart with an unexpected event, leading to vastly different outcomes. To prevent hasty generalizations, one could work exclusively around individual cases. However, doing so does not guarantee that in repeating the research methodology, one will get back the exact same outcome (Lopez-Trueba, 2008), since firstly, the findings do not cover many cases, and secondly, human behaviour is non-static and inherently unpredictable. (Morse, 2002)

A study was conducted to investigate the correlation between ecological change variables and civil war incidences in Africa. (M. Burke et al, 2009) Results showed that there was a statistically significant correlation between regional temperature changes and civil war incidences, other variables controlled. Further studies of causal chains also reflect how drought had intensified underlying tensions and migration patterns, leading to a lack of social trust and civil strife. (Luc Bowens, 2011) Generalising across cases would lead to the explanation that ecological changes led to civil strife. Yet, though not incorrect, it is simplistic to do so, since other direct chains leading to civil strife of different origins completely unrelated to climate change exist. (De Waal, A, 2007)

In this respect, we see that generalization and specificity both have drawbacks in terms of their use for prediction, and determining the degree of generality to employ depends on the context. Generalization would work better in an environment with a record of recurring trends, whilst in examining small samples and random occurrences, it might be better to focus on specific cases rather than make broad assumptions that do not constantly hold true.

Often, the nature of data in social science complicates predictability due to the fact that human agency behaviour varies. (Leung, 2011) When people know about predictions, they change their behaviours and responses. (Goodhart, 1975) Hence, the implication is that a good method would use a combination of methods that cover all grounds (from general to specific) to try to predict outcomes more accurately.

Finally, there are pressures of academic specialization in social scientific fields. (Cox, 2011) Expertise knowledge offers detailed and useful insights exclusive to one’s own particular field, which can in turn generate further spin-offs in developing new ideas and knowledge to explain the causes of things. However, just solely concentrating on one’s own discipline would result in a narrow tunnel vision of events, causing one to lose out in breadth and scope of understanding.

For example, various disciplines explain the end of the Cold War differently. Historians emphasise on multiple actors and reject a simple bipolarity model. They explore specific details of all possible reasons that could have ended the Cold War, from Gorbachev’s ‘heresthetics abilities’, the weakening of communism’s ideological appeal, to the European integration process. However, this gives rise to the danger of being involved in too much detail, and excess complexity could break a simple issue up into too many small and intricate parts. Historians could have 20-25 different discoveries and competing explanations for how the Cold War ended, but still fundamentally lose sight of the bigger, overall picture. (Ludlow, 2011)

Hence, communication between different specializations is essential to pull different reasons together for a more complete overview, so that explanations of causes would not be one-sided and skewed towards one particular niche field. It is also ideal to target more inter-disciplinary methods of research, since events in social sciences are usually caused by a combination and contingency of factors from different disciplines rather than one specific discipline. (Cox, 2011)

In conclusion, though trade-offs exist, we cannot solely focus on one methodology of research since both generalization and specialization have their individual merits and are important. Ultimately, how we conduct research boils down to what we prioritise or what works best in a given context, since some methodologies work better in certain environments than others. The social sciences are a dynamic and ever-changing system of interactions and interrelations existing as a framework of the whole, not as a sum total of the separate and individual. (Anguelov, 1984) This essential unity of social phenomena results in the need for integration of general and specific methodologies, since we can sometimes only generalize after obtaining specific data, or only narrow into specifics with the backing of generalizations that set the strategic direction of where and what the focus should be.

References:

1) Anguelov, Stephan (1984). Discussion: Methodological problems of the social sciences, Studies in East European Thought Volume 27, Number 3, 263-265, DOI: 10.1007/BF00831907 http://www.springerlink.com/content/g57p5006h7304l47/ Retrieved on: 19 March 2011
In text citation: (Anguelov, 1984)

2) Astuti, Rita (1999). At the centre of the market: a Vezo woman. In Day, S, Papataxiarchis, E. and Stewart, M (Eds) Lilies of the field. Boulder, Co: Westview Press (4) 83-95
In text citation: (Astuti, 1999)


3) Burke, M.B. et. Al. (2009). Warming increases the risk of civil war in Africa, PNAS 106(49), 20670-20674. http://gate2.library.lse.ac.uk/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0907998106
In text citation: (M. Burke et al, 2009)


4) Cox, Michael (2011). Why did we fail to predict the end of the Cold WarLSE100 Module 3 Lecture 3 capture. Retrieved from LSE100 Moodle site. http://moodle.lse.ac.uk
In text citation: (Cox, 2011)


5) De Waal, A. (2007). Is Climate Change the culprit for Dafurhttp://blogs.ssrc.org/sudan/2007/06/25/is-climate-change-the-culprit-for-darfur/
In text citation: (De Waal, A , 2007)

6) Eyler, Aaron (2010). The importance of generalizations in social studies. http://researchtopractice.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/the-importance-of-generalizations-in-social-studies/ Retrieved: 19 March 2011
In text citation: (Eyler, 2010)

7) Goodhart, C.A.E. (1975). Monetary Relationships: A View from Threadneedle Street. Papers in Monetary Economics (Reserve Bank of Australia) I.
In text citation: (Goodhart, 1975)

8) Keller, E. (2008). The banna plant and the moon: conservation and the Malagasy ethos of life in Masoala, Madagascar. American Ethnologist, (35). 651-654, 656-659, 661-662
In text citation: (Keller, 2008)

9) Knoblauch, Hubert (2005). Focused Ethnography [30 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research 6(3), Art. 44, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0503440. Retrieved: 19 March 2011
In text citation: (Knoblauch, 2005)

10) Laragy, Elizabeth (2006). The Imperial Archive: Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies: Ethnography http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/SchoolofEnglish/imperial/key-concepts/Ethnography.htm#_ftnref4 Retrieved: 19 March 2011
In text citation: (Laragy, 2006)

11) Leung, Tim (2011). Asking your own questions- and asking the right questions LSE100 Special Lecture 3 capture. Retrieved from LSE100 Moodle site. http://moodle.lse.ac.uk
In text citation: (Leung, 2011)

12) Lopez-Trueba, Mei (2008). Reliability, Validity, and Generalisability. Are they compatible in ethnographic research focused on Occupational Health(2). http://www.scribd.com/doc/4637204/Reliability-Validity-and-Generalisability Mei Lopez-Trueba Retrieved : 19 March 2011
In text citation: (Lopez-Trueba, 2008)

13) Luc Bowens (2011). LSE100 Understanding the causes of things: A philosophy of science perspective on causality in the social sciences 1-5
In text citation: (Luc Bowens, 2011)

14) Ludlow, Piers (2011) The end of the Cold War, An historian’s approach. Module 3 Lecture 2 capture. Retrieved from LSE100 Moodle site. http://moodle.lse.ac.uk
In text citation (Ludlow, 2011)

15) Maxwell, Simon. (1999). ODI Poverty Briefing: The Meaning and Measurement of Poverty Overseas Development Institute (3) 1-2
In text citation: (Maxwell, 1999)

16) Morse, J. M. and Richards, L. (2002). Readme First for a User’s Guide to Qualitative Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. A basic text and guide to the qualitative methods literature. (4)
In text citation: (Morse, 2002)

17) Neill, James (2007). Qualitative versus Quantitative Research: Key Points in a Classic Debate.
http://wilderdom.com/research/QualitativeVersusQuantitativeResearch.html Retrieved on 19 March 2011
In text citation: (Neill, 2007)

18) UNDP (2011). Human Development Reports : Human Poverty Index http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/indices/hpi/ Retrieved: 20 March 2011
In text citation: (UNDP HDR, 2011)

19) Shiveley, J. M., & Misco, T. (2009). Reclaiming generalizations in social studies education. Social Science Research & Practice, 4 (2), 73-78. http://www.socstrp.org/issues/PDF/4.2.6.pdf Retrieved: 22 March 2011
In text citation: (Shiveley, 2009)

Categories
Free Essays

Research on the Stakeholder theory, Agency theory, Corporate Social restructuring and ethics

Introduction:

This report is presented to the financial director of the FTSE-100 company. The company is facing down turn due to the economic recession around the globe and due to its own corporate social responsible policies. This report shows research on the Stakeholder theory, Agency theory, Corporate Social restructuring and ethics. This report also shows the different aspects of these theories linked with health of the organization. Many authors have different concern about each theory but directly or in directly linked it with the shareholder and profit maximization. On the other hand researchers prove that recent developments in corporate social responsibility and ethics save organizations from down fall in economic recession.

Stake holder theory:

Stakeholder theory was put forward by Freeman in 1984 as a proposal for strategic management of organization in the late twentieth century. By the passage of time the theory has achieve importance with the key workers Clarkson in 1994, Donaldson and Preston 1995, Mitchell in 1997, Rowley in 1997 and Frooman in 1999 enabling both greater theoretical depth and development of this theory (Mainardes et al. 2011 p.226).

In academic context there endless definitions of stakeholder have been put and there is no individual, definitive and generally accepted definition. In argue to that the works of Bryson (2004), Buchhloz and Rosenthal (2005), Friedman and Miles (2006) and Beach (2008) have an overall of 66 different approaches for the term “Stakeholder”.

The source of stakeholder theory based on four key academic areas i.e. Sociology, economics, politics and ethics. Freeman (1984) found that any group or individual that can affect or be affected by the understanding of organization goals and objectives.

Hence the objective of this report is to maximize the shareholder’s wealth and how the corporate social responsibility and ethics helps to increase the long term value of the organization. In addition to that the Financial Director has different views about these theories, CSR and Ethics.

In argued to that maximizing the returns to shareholders the managers must try to provide the satisfactory return to each group which comes under the stakeholder group. According to the Mygind (2009, p. 159) diversified stakeholder have different approaches and association to other stakeholders and they have an evaluation of their own benefits which is only related to them moreover they also give different importance to the satisfaction of the stakeholder’s interest.

In 1980’s and 1990’s maximizing shareholder wealth and corporate wealth maximization totally based on the board of directors how they form the corporate strategies to increase the shareholder returns (Blair, 1995). In contrast to this argument Mygind has found that current developments in the corporate social responsibility and ethics move the pendulum towards the border view of value creation which is beneficial for the stakeholders (2009 p.160). Moreover total shareholder maximization which is directly linked with the corporate social responsibility should be fulfilled under limited circumstances.

At all outcome of this analysis of the literature it may be accepted that stakeholder theory has diversified over into many fields. According to Carrol (1994) the stake holder theory grasp the relevance to financial management, human resource management , strategic management, organization ethics, research and development, corporate governed and many more.

Agency theory:

Agency theory fundamentally involved with the relationship of managers and stockholders (Jenson and Meckling, 1976). In addition to this managers should make decisions that are linked with the objective of maximizing shareholder wealth. According to the Ross (1973) an agency is defined as on in which one or more persons (the principal (s) ) engages another person (the agent) to perform some service on their behalf which involve delegating some decision making authority to the agent. Moreover Eisenhardt (1985) and Kosnik (1987) linked the development of agency theory with organization behavior and strategic management.

Managers as an agents are very interested in maximizing their efficiency of wealth and they acquire this end though their salaries and bounces etc. When managers make decisions which is not consistent with the objective of shareholder wealth maximization then the agency problem occurs. Jensen (1998) explaining the problem of agency is that agents are not absolute. Their interests do not perfectly matches with the objectives of the principal and accordingly if authority is not sufficient then there will be divergence from the objectives of interest to the titleholder of the assets.

The dormant agency problem between managers and its stakeholders is not only agency problem that exists. Jensen and Mecking (1976) argued that the company can face series of agency relationships between the different interests of groups. According to the agency theory, principles can establish appropriate incentives for the agents on the basis of his or her level of interest and this thing leads towards the agency cost.

Moreover Jensen and Mecking (1976) suggested that there are two approaches about seeking to optimize the managerial behavior in order to stimulate goal congruence between shareholder and managers. The first way is for shareholder to monitor the action of managements. There are number of ways to check the performance of management for example use of independently auditors to audit the financial statements, additional reporting requirements and use of external analyst. The other way is to form the corporate managerial contract in which the goal congruence should be mentioned and it is linked with the incentives, constraints and punishments.

All in all total shareholder maximization encloses advantages for all groups pure shareholder as well as stakeholders. This includes the maximization of the shareholder value, the value for the stakeholder and owner and the value for all stakeholders.

Corporate social responsibility:

Corporate social responsibility is concerned with the impact of their activities on society and on the environment. While there is no single commonly accepted definition of corporate social responsibility, it generally refers to business decision making linked to the ethical values, compliance with legal requirements, and respect for people, communities and the environment (Business for Social Responsibility, 2011).

Organizations are involved in diverse economic, cultural and political system around the globe and these organizations have different operating and governance standards. Lantos (2001) argued that to gain the essence business organization’s social responsibility people must do hard work and be successful.

To perform in a social responsible way Freeman (1984) stated that the organization need to act in accordance to moral, legal and social concerns which is represented by stakeholder. Stakeholder group consist of so many different units so it may cause difficulty to give the importance to each and every unit. Lippke (1966) argued that maximizing shareholder’s wealth should be the fundamental objective for managers.

Maximizing profits is an elementary mission for business organizations to gain long-term benefits. Hui (2008) argued that through competitive advantage firms create and sustain above the average economic performance. Moreover Maddjono (2005) argue that corporation sustainability relay upon the implementation of good corporate governance principals. There principals concern with the accountability, efficiency and transparency.

Furthermore building total corporate sustainability needs systematic corporate cultural conversion. Gao and Zhang (2006) stated that these changes require investment in related resources and engaging all stakeholders.

However role of CSR is not only build social corporate sustainability it also help to prevent the organization from acting unethically and help the organization outlining its economic growth. Haberberg and Rieple (2001) argued that the organization is in constant discourse with the society in which it acts, its affect them and affected by them. Hence rather than trying to highlight the problem whether CSR is good or bad for business, the one question should ask under which conditions firm social activities could be beneficial for society.

Financial director has only concern with the profit maximization but on the other hand researchers prove that the CSR also helps the organization to fulfill this objective. CSR also helps to sustain the corporate culture in better way and maintain healthy relationship with social community.

Ethics:

The word ethics derived from the Greek word Ethicos meaning habit or custom relating to the society. Guttmann (2006) believed that ethics is created when people think positively about the world, about life and about the needs to fulfill the goals and objectives.

Business ethics is that behavior which concerns with the daily dealings with the world. This thing not only applies how the business interact with the world it also focuses on everyday dealing with customers. Now days every business schools have business ethics courses and these modules mainly deal’s with new aspects of business ethics. However Swanson (2005) stated that business ethics in academic continue to face skepticism as to the legitimacy and practically of their newly emerged field. Many institutes around the globe associate this course with many other courses for example Management, Organization behavior etc.

Business ethics:

Ethics in business is very important in terms of reputation with their clients. Ethics provide important outline to the business to ensure that the fair practice and other business opportunities to the business. An organization ethical values and culture are important to its society. There are different ethical concerns across the organization and they are linked with every interested group in the organization. Robin and Reidenbach (1987) develop a multidimensional scale for improving evaluations of business ethics. More over business ethics has an external impact on the market place and the society. On the other hand corporate ethics has an internal emphasis on the performance of the organization.

Ethical structure:

The area of ethical structure determines to support organization and without them there is no support for organization to implement ethical processes and evaluate them. This area help’s organization to make strategy, tactical and operational level of business practices Svensson and Wood (2008).

A sub area of ethical structure is a code of ethics. Code of ethics focuses on the social issues and it may arrange general principals about an organization beliefs, mission and quality of the environment. Code studies have also been executed on the largest multinational organization operating a wide range of jurisdictions around the globe Wood et al. (2004).

Moreover studies have found that having an ethical code does have a positive impact on the ethical actions and behavior of the organization Adam et al. (2001). Stajkovic and Luthans (1987) see code of ethics as one of the important frame work that linked together to influence the ethical standards of the organization.

Level of returns affected by CSR/Ethical Issues:

Snow brand milk Co. known is the Japan’s premier dairy food company. Now days this company known as Meg Milk Snow Co. as they have changed their name after 2002. The year 2000 was catastrophic year for the Snow Brand Milk Co. As they were facing very severe CSR/Ethical issues of food poisoning in Japan. Around 15,000 people had been affected with food poisoning after using Snow Brand dairy products. After inspection the problem was traced, the bacteria Staphylococcus Aurous was found on the valve which proceeds low fat milk. Later on Japan Public Health Association issue the recall for the Snow Brand milk products.

Moreover media reported the judiciary about all facts and figure and judiciary take action against the Snow Brand and banned all the dairy products of snow. In addition to that the president tries to win the support from society but he fails and admitted to hospital suffering from the stress of the incident. The end result was he and seven executives resigned from company.

The outcomes of the actions for Snow Brand have been breathtaking and awful. Sales of the company have been collapsed and consumer confidence has eliminated. The company had ceases its five factories including the offending site from the poisoning. Later on this figure increased to eight.

The company suffered with great loss and its financial position is badly affected. Snow Brand announced consolidated net loss was 52.9 billion yen (about 430 million US dollars) for the fiscal year ending in March 2000. Further more Snow Brand loses the 45% market share after these circumstances. After this incident company faces 40% decrease in the share price in Tokyo Stock exchange.

Source: (Japan Times, 2002)

Fight Back

A key element for the company to come back in the market is to revamp its social responsibility. In the first, the new president made statement of regret and acknowledges the mistakes of the past and determines to move forward. In addition to restructuring plan following things also include:

Improving quality assurance
Reform of corporate culture
Renew corporate social responsibility
Enhance corporate governance

Case study illustration of arguments:

ITE plc one of the world foremost organizers of international trade exhibitions and conferences and develop oneself in organizing events in growing and developing market.

ITE is a multinational firm and the board of the company is aware about the social benefits and risks which are linked with their various groups in social responsible manner. As an operator internationally oriented business in developing markets the company guarantee that they are culturally sensitive in dealing with the local community, development polices for employees and go for those projects which are supportive for the local community.

In 2010, ITE plc faced problem with corporate social responsibility and some other ethical issues and economic down turn which leads towards the no increase in the share price and there is no significant increase in profits. Weber (2008) argued that they are numerous benefits of CSR and these include pure financial benefits which lead towards the risk reduction, efficiency gain and tax advantages. In addition to financial benefits Maignan et al. (1999) find that CSR is positively linked with employee’s commitment and customer loyalty. This show that how CSR improve overall health of the organization (ITE Website, 2011).

Later on by the mid of 2010 the board of the company revamps their approach to corporate social responsibility in addition to that the board also reform their corporate culture and corporate governance. In figure 1 the first three months in graph shows level of share price of ITE which was approximately 143.5 and there is no increase in the share price. After implementing new reformed Corporate social responsibility company share price increase with full boost. In the figure form the August 2010 to March 2011 Company enjoys the significant positive change in the share price. Delevingne (2009) found this recession is wiping away a lot of things but so far CSR seems to be survivor.

Figure 1: Increase in Share price (Source: ITE Website)

In all corporate social responsibility has gain amazing recognition in the last recent times. However organization must consider the importance of CSR and give full concentration to it and maintain high standard of relationship with society.

Conclusion:

At the end this report shows that the stakeholder theory, agency theory, CSR and ethics are diversified over different fields. Further stakeholders have very specific resources and interest and it must be fulfilled by the agents of firms in order to satisfy them. Total shareholder or stakeholder maximization includes benefits for all groups; researchers prove that implementation of these theories helps the organization to perform in the favor of stakeholders, economy and society.

Appendices

Reflective journal:

I initially faced lots of difficulties in the making of this assignment the reason is I am an international student and for me this is first time studying in the new environment and culture with so many international student. I have some knowledge of finance however it is not quite enough. After starting studying Financial Management I assumed that the knowledge which I have is not sufficient for me. Since the theories and practices uses by my tutor are very depth in the nature. This assignment is very helpful for me and increases my knowledge about the latest concepts of finance.

I worked very hard for this assignment to fulfill the requirement of the assignment. On the hand I also faced many difficulties when I was working on my assignment. After spending a lot of time in the library I come up with some facts and figures which were really helpful for me in the making of assignment.

While working on this assignment I also learnt effective communication skills by talking and sharing ideas with other students in the class. In the future I will do research in more depth so I will implement more theories and practices in my upcoming modules.

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Banking services in saudi arabia research proposal

Literature Review

I. Introduction

The beginning of the modern banking system began in October 1952 with the creation of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) the principle agency responsible for management of monetary matters. Paper money was first introduced in the early years of the 1950s decade. Banking problems in the late 1950s decade resulted in regulatory framework being strengthened in Saudi Arabia during the middle 1960s decade in which broad supervisory capacity was given to SAMA in a legal environment that upheld the concept of a Universal Banking Model allowing banks to make provision of a wide range of financial services “including banking, investments, securities, etc. through their branches.” (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, 2004, p.3) There were 12 operating banks by 1979 only three of which, were non-Saudi banks and branches had doubled by that year to 140.

II. Lending Institutions in Saudi Arabia

Five major lending institutions were introduced in the decade of the 1970s: (1) Saudi Credit Bank; (2) Saudi Agricultural Bank; (3) Public Investment Fund; (4) Saudi Development Fund; and (5) the Real Estate Fund. (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, 2004, p.3) Restructuring was accomplished arising from encouragement by the Saudi Government and by 1975 there was a reported “10 international bank”…including “29 branches present.” (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, 2004, p.3) There was a rise and fall in the economy and SAMA faced a critical challenge for supervision in 1982 “when irregularities appeared in Saudi Cairo Bank’s operations. Two senior managers were involved in unauthorized trading in bullion during the 1979-81 period, and had concealed accumulated losses that exceeded the Bank’s share capital.” (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, 2004, p.3) It is reported that SAMA required the Bank to issue new shares and double its capital in 1986. SAMA arranged this increase to be taken up entirely by the Public Investment Fund (PIF). The Bank also benefited from “low-cost” deposits from the Public Investment Fund. These measures helped the Bank with liquidity and rescued it back to a healthy position.” (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, 2004, p. 4-5

III. Regulatory Framework of Banking System in Saudi Arabia

SAMA in collaboration with Saudi Arabia Ministry of Finance ensured the financial system’s stability and assisted banks in clearing the hurdles of economic downturn. Included in this collaborative initiative were the following actions: (1) Banks were required to seek SAMA’s approval prior to announcing their dividends. The Banking Control Law required all banks to build their statutory reserves equal to their share capital. SAMA further encouraged Saudi banks to build additional reserves to strengthen their capital base. (2) Most foreign shareholders in Saudi banks enjoyed a tax holiday for the first five years of their ownership. To encourage retention of profits, the tax holiday was extended in most cases by another 5 years after which a deferred tax scheme was permitted; (3) In 1986, SAMA obtained a ruling from the Tax Department that permitted the tax deduction of loan loss provisions on an accrual basis. This encouraged banks to increase their loan loss provisions for doubtful accounts; (4) To encourage Saudi banks to increase their inter-bank dealings and to support the development of a riyal inter-bank market, a tax ruling was obtained which exempted foreign banks from withholding taxes when carrying out inter-bank transactions with Saudi banks; (5) Corporate Governance. SAMA recognized the need to encourage banks to take strong steps to improve their risk management and control procedures. Consequently, it took major initiatives in the area of corporate governance. Firstly, it required all banks to develop and strengthen their internal audit departments, and secondly it issued minimum internal control guidelines. In addition, SAMA issued accounting standards for Commercial Banks in Saudi Arabia which were in line with International Accounting Standards; (6) Creation of Banking Disputes Committee. In 1987, Saudi authorities established a Banking Dispute Committee by the order of the Council of Ministers. The creation of this Committee as the only relevant quasicourt to handle dispute between banks and their customers significantly strengthened the legal system. By law, all banking disputes had to be referred to this Committee and the rulings of this Committee were given the same enforcement support as decisions from any other court; (7) Exchange of Information on Large Borrowers and on Delinquent Loans. In the early 1980’s, SAMA established a credit information service that provided information to Saudi banks on all large exposures of the Banking System. This enabled banks to better assess the credit position and risk of big borrowers. Also in 1986, SAMA permitted banks to exchange information on delinquent borrowers as a means of applying collective pressure on them. These measures have proved quite effective in resolving problems of delinquent loans.” (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, 2004, p. 5-6)

IV. Improvement of Banking Services

Banking and financial services were improved during the early decade of the 1980s by technological advances and SAMA had acknowledged a decade earlier that there was not only a potential but as well as need to “enhance and strengthen the Saudi financial markets through greater investment in modern technology. It is reported that the primary objectives of this strategy were: (1) elimination of duplication of efforts and waste; and (2) development of a national infrastructure. (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, 2004, p. 7) Technology enhanced business services introduced included: (1) automated Cheque Clearing System (1986); (2) linking of Saudi Arabia with the SWIFT payment network; (3) introduction of a national Automated Teller Machine System enabling customers to access accounts from any machine in Saudi Arabia and from the major financial markets; (4) introduction of debit, credit and charge cards; and (5) introduction of Point-of-Sale terminals that link customers, traders and banks. (Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, 2004, p.7)

International Islamic Financial Institutions

It is reported that International Islamic Financial Institutions are reported in the work of Memon (2007) entitled “Islamic Banking: Present and Future Challenges” to be making provision of “a wide range of services in accordance with the basic principles of Shariah. The products are reported to include: (1) Mudaraba; (2) Murabaha; (3) Musharaka; (4) Ijarah; (5) Isstina; and (6) Salam. (Memon, 2007, p.4) Conventional banks are reported to operate under the concept “of lender-borrower relationship where interest is considered as the rental income on capital. The depositors are assumed to be capital providers.” (Memon, 2007, p.4) Bank customers are reported to be divided into three broad categories as follows: (1) religiously motivated customers; (2) high profit customers; and (3) customers who are religiously motivated but also expect returns at least similar to conventional banks. (Memon, 2007, p.6) It is reported as follows in regards to the Islamic economic system: “Islamic economics is a system, which not only fulfils our moral, ethical, and religious obligations but also demonstrates to be economically feasible and financially rewarding. Islamic banking is based on asset-based transactions for the purpose of income generation, and prohibits financing in all forms of economic activities, which are normally and/or socially injurious to the society.” (Memon, 2007, p.6) Additionally stated is that the Islamic field of Banking operations “is unlimited. It is under continuous process of evolving and Islamic financial modes instruments have been developed to cover nearly all kinds of businesses including consumer financing, project financing, house financing, working capital financing, import and export financing, venture capital, etc.” (Memon, 2007, p.6) A survey conducted in the United States indicates that U.S. banker perception of Islamic Banking includes that 10 out of 20 Islamic Banking practices are viewed as acceptable. Those ten include: (1) investment accounts; (2) transfer of funds; (3) cost plus finance; (4) profit and loss; (5) sharing, (6) trust financing, (7) leasing, (8) lease purchase, (9) letters of guarantee, and (10) flexible investment of deposit and role as trustees. (Memon, 2007, p.8)

VI. Service Quality in Saudi Arabian Banks

The work of Al-Fawzan (2005) entitled “Assessing Service Quality in a Saudi Bank” states that service quality is defined as “the degree of alignment between customers’ expectations and their perceptions of the service received.” (Al-Fawzan, 2005, p.1) Al-Fawzan (2005) states that the move to “…managed service has increased demands for outcome-based accountability, cost containment, and attention to customer-focused quality in order to remain competitive in a rapidly changing environment. This dual focus on driving down costs while increasing quality has intensified pressures to understand, measure, and manage quality from a customer perspective.” (p.101) While banking systems are stated to provide services that are the same they are differentiated by the quality of services provided. In addition, today’s customers are “…more aware of the alternatives and their expectations of service have increased. Service quality can, therefore, be used as a strategic tool to build a distinctive advantage over competitors. Banks are striving for zero defection and retaining every customer that the company can profitably serve in order to achieve service excellence.” (Al-Fawzan, 2005) Zero defections makes a requirement of ongoing efforts for improving service quality. It is reported that while quality “can not be improved unless it is measured, it can be defined from several perspectives, e.g., the ability to satisfy the needs and expectations of the customer, or the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on its ability to satisfy given needs.” (Al-Fawzan, 2005) There is a growing acknowledgement of quality importance in banking services although “its conceptualization and empirical assessment have remained limited.” (Al-Fawzan, 2005) Al-Fawzan (2005) reports that the “central tenet of the quality paradigm is the importance of understanding and utilizing customer data to drive operational and strategic decisions, defining quality from the outside-in based on customer information is critical. This shift in defining quality often necessitates a fundamental change in the way professionals, managers, staff, and policy makers think about and identify those who “buy” or “use” products and service.” (Al-Fawzan, 2005)

Those who use banking services are not generally refers to as ‘customers’ but instead are referred to as ‘client” suggesting “…a passive voice in the service delivery process, which is reflected by professionals in the field who question the credibility of client evaluation of services. On the other hand, customer carries an image of an active participant with more input in determining choices and decisions. Clients of human service organizations who follow directions from professionals and make few demands on the system are labeled as “cooperative.” In contrast, customers in the business sector who are loyal to the service, interact with the staff, and are willing to show their preferences are viewed as “desirable customer.” (Al-Fawzan, 2005) Al-Fawzan states that customers have difficulty in the articulation of “banking service quality” therefore “the recipient of the service can only really assess it, thereby making its measurement more subjective than exact. Hence, the measurement of banking service quality has to be based on perceived quality rather than objective quality because services are intangible, heterogeneous and their consumption and production occur simultaneously.” (2005) It is reported that service quality “… is a measure of how well the service level matches customers’ expectations.” (Al-Fawzan, 2005) It is reported that Parasuraman et al. “…defined service quality as perceived by customers and items from a comparison on their expectations of the services they will receive with their perceptions of the performance of the service provider.” (Al-Fawzan, 2005) The study reported by Al-Fawzan (2005) summarizes the results stated the following findings: (1) the most important dimension determined by Saudi Bank customers is that of ‘assurance dimension’; (2) a service gap exists in service quality provided by Saudi Banks with the most notable gap being the accessibility dimension; (3) Saudi Bank customers, on average, rated Saudi Banks service quality to be overall good; (4) the expectations of Saudi Banks by customers are “highest in reliability dimension; (5) 67.8% of SB customers rated the overall service quality as good and very good; (5) SB employees dress nicely and they are polite when talking to customers; (6) SB has exceeded customers’ expectations in performing the service right from the beginning and in instilling the confidence in customers that their transactions are complete and safe.” (Al-Fawzan, 2005)

The work of Sohail and Shaikh (2008) entitled “Internet Banking and Quality of Service: Perspectives from a Developing Nation in the Middle East” reports a study that had as its objective the measurement of the quality of service from the perspective of the customer on internet banking in Saudi Arabia. The study was conducted via a questionnaire survey and an extensive review of literature. Findings in the study report that upon the basis of a factor analysis three factors were found to influence the evaluation of quality of internet banking services by users. Those three factors identified are stated to include: (1) efficiency and security; (2) fulfillment; and (3) responsiveness. (Sohail and Shaikh, 2008) In 2010 Jasimuddin reported in the work entitled “Saudi Arabian Banks on the Web” reports that commercial transactions via the Internet began in 1995 and that online banking is an application with much promise. However, while many banks in developed countries have made provision of banking services via the Internet, Saudi Arabia is “lagging behind.” (Jasimuddin, 2010, p.1) The environment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s environment is very conducive to Internet banking service provision. Jasimuddin reports that as of 2000 there were 11 banks and 1201 branches operating in Saudi Arabia.

As of the middle of 2000, there are 11 banks with 1201 branches operating across Saudi Arabia. Eight banks are reported to have established a web site presence which is a rate of 73% of banks with a web site presence although only two of these offer Internet Banking Services. When the Saudi banks web sites are compared there is not major difference noted in the content of the bank web sites. The contents of the websites are stated to be inclusive of information about the bank, the addresses of branches and ATMs, phone and fax numbers, press releases, newsletters, news about the site and welcome letters, hot links, job opportunities, publications, contact and email, feedback, sitemap, site search, online forms and so forth. (Jasimuddin, 2010, paraphrased) Practically all of the banks provide information relating to customer services that “incorporate financial market, retail and corporate banking, investment treasury service, telephone and PC banking.” (Jasimuddin, 2010) It is reported that online banking in Saudi Arabia is still a “very marginal activity” and that internet is presently being used by Saudi banks primarily for “brand awareness and promotion.” (Jasimuddin, 2010) Saudi banks will be driven by “the dynamic and imperatives of e-finance…to build web site and to start Internet banking.” (Jasimuddin, 2010) In other words, since this is a banking service that is increasingly familiar customers will be requesting these services from banks in the future in Saudi Arabia.

VII. Technology Use in Banking Service Provision

It was reported in 2007 that the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia was established in Saudi Arabia prior to any other banks being established. This bank has 300 branches throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with some branches stated to be “dedicated exclusively to Islamic Banking Services. The National Commercial bank reports having implemented use of a digital signage system which is reported to make provision of a “better platform for NCB to better communicate with its employees, educating them about the banks products and services and enhancing the service they provide to their customers.” (Jasimuddin, 2010)

Summary of Literature Reviewed

It is clear that banks in Saudi Arabia are faced with a diverse customer-base and this makes a requirement of diversification of banking services offered by banks in the Kingdom. While internet banking services provision is somewhat behind the development in the rest of the world, it is certain that Saudi Arabian banking customers will clearly see the benefits to Internet banking and that the push will soon be on for provision of this banking service by Saudi Arabian banks. Internet banking as well as other technological advanced service possibilities are presently being explored by Saudi Arabian banks including such technologies as a digital signage system among others. While the banking sector is quite developed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia there does appear to be a general mistrust of Internet banking technology and not just on the part of customers but in the view of the banking industry in Saudi Arabia as well.

Recommendations

Arising from this study is a recommendation for research to be conducted examining the quality of banking service provision by banks in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a focus on technology use.

References

Memon, N.A. (2007) Islamic Banking: Present and Future Challenges. Journal of Management and Social Sciences. Vol. 3, No. 1, (Spring 2007) 01-10. Institute of Business and Technology (BIZTEK). Retrieved from: http://www.biztek.edu.pk/downloads/research/jmss_v3_n1/1-islamic%20banking.pdf

A Case Study On Globalization and the Role of Institution Building in the Financial Sector Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. February 2004. Retrieved from:

http://www.sama.gov.sa/sites/samaen/OtherReportsLib/SK521-04(CaseStudyonGlobalization-RoleofInstitutionBuildinginSaudiArabia-Final)Dr.Shaukat.pdf

Al-Fawzan, MA (2005) Assessing Service Quality in a Saudi Bank. J. King Saud Univ., Vol. 18, Eng. Sci. (1), pp. 101-115, Riyadh (1426H./2005).

Sohail, M.S. and Shaikh, N.M. (2008) Internet banking and quality of service: Perspectives from a developing nation in the Middle East. “, Online Information Review, Vol. 32 Iss: 1, pp.58 – 72

Jasimuddin, Sajjad M. (2010) Saudi Arabianu Banks on the Web. Array Development. Retrieved from: http://www.tenso.fr/emarketing/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Aper%C3%A7u-de-%C2%AB%C2%A0Saudi-Arabian-Banks-on-the-Web%C2%A0%C2%BB.pdf

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Experimental research and computational research on working memory and visual attention.

Introduction

Psychology is the scientific study of our behaviour and experience (Hayes, 1999, p.1). Through research psychologists can determine the way human beings behave and the experiences they share around them. The scientific methods used in the study of human behaviour and mind have been undertaken through neuropsychological case studies, experimental research and computational modelling, in which they formulate theories, test hypotheses through observation and experiment, and analyse the findings with statistical techniques that help them identify important findings.

The following explanation will highlight and describe working memory and visual attention, and how psychologists have sought to understand through two of the following research methods: experimental research and computational modelling.

Working memory basically refers to the brain ability to temporarily store information.

Visual attention as describe by Triesman et al. (1984), the features that are attractors of covert visual attention are those parts of an image that differ from all the other parts by a single aspect.

Psychologists have sought to understand both working memory and visual attention through experimental research and computational modelling.

The experimental research was first set up by Wilhelm Wundt in his laboratory in 1879. His first researches were based on visual illusions and perception. In 1885, Herman Ebbinghaus published the first experimental research on memory and after behaviourism was eliminated, the cognitivist argued that all studies connected to psychology and the undertaken of the mind and human behaviour must be conducted through empirical means. A move from the empirical means saw the introduction of computer systems as new ideas for the processing of information. These computer programs were developed and would carry out perceptual processes such as the recognition of complex stimuli. These programs made use of feature detector systems and this discovery of feature detectors can be regarded as an example of different approaches to cognition being combined, with contributions from both neuroscience and computer modelling.

On visual attention, there are experiments, which has been conducted by Navon (1977) and proposed that it may be the norm to process the global attributes conducted for visual attention is the one in which subjects to attend to a physical property such as colour or spatial location. There are other experiments like the visual search task.

One computational modelling of the visual attention research method is the one conducted by Neisser (1964, 67) and experimented on the considerable variation in the ease which we can identify a given object from other object. Neisser modelled the visual search task by having subjects search among an array of letters represented in paper or on a computer screen for a specified target. The relationship between targets and distracters could then be manipulated.

On working memory, psychologists have performed many experiments, which sought to explain how memory is organised, and works within the brain by using the working memory model, which was provided by Baddley, A. and Hitch, G. It has been possible in recent years to use magnetic and positron scanning devices to observe what is happening in different parts of the brain while people are doing various mental tasks. Additional evidence about brain functioning is gathered by observing the performance of people whose brains have been damaged in identifiable ways.

Therefore, in cognitive psychology experiments and theory development are frequently aided by developing computational models of the behaviour of groups of neurons as in the working memory.

According to Groome, D. (2006, p.132) working memory is define as the process of storing information and experiences for possible retrieval at some point in the future. This ability to create and bring back memories is very important when it comes to the understanding of cognition and this helps our ability as human beings to function properly. Our memories allow us to store information about the world so that we can understand and deal with future situations on the basis of our experience.

Encoding refers to getting information into the system by translating it into a neural code that your brain processes. What happens this a little life when you type on a computer keyboard, as your key strokes are translated into on electrical code that the computer can understand and process storage involves retaining information over time. Once in the system, information must be filed away and saved, as happens when a computer stores information temporarily in the RAM (Random Access Memory) and permanently on a hard drive. Finally, retrieval refers to processes that access stored information. On a computer, retrieval occurs when you give a software command ( e.g: open file) that transfers information from the hard drive back to the RAM and the screen, where you can scroll through it. Keep in mind, however, that this analogy between human and computer is crude. For one thing, people routinely forget and distort information and sometime “remember” events that never occurred

According to Loftus & Bernstein (2005), has described human memory is highly dynamic, and its complexity cannot be fully captured by any existing information processing model. Encoding, storage and retrieval represent what our memory system does with information. Before exploring these processes more fully, let us examine some basic components of memory.

The fascinating thing about this unilateral visual neglect is that these effects occur even though the pathways from the receptors to the central nervous system for the neglected information remain intact.

Treisman has proposed that separate systems analyze objects different visual features. Through parallel processing, these systems all process information at the same time and we can attend selectively to one feature by effectively blocking the further processing of the others ( Treisman & Gelade, 1980). In studies, employing Treisman’s visual search tasks (also called feature search tasks), participants look at a display of different objects on a computer screen, searching for ones, called targets that differ from the others in only one feature.

The visual attention search task is one of the most widely used measures in the study of visual perception and attention. A work centred on the locating of targets or items among distracters and the differences in visual attention stimulus between the feature search and the conjunctive search resulted to a reaction time that varies due to the variable number of distracters in which a search item could be found. The research findings were based on the above factor. Treisman and Gelade (1980) provided the Feature Integration Theory (FIT) on focused attention that embraces the conceptualisation of perception of features and objects also known as the visual search method. In trying to integrate the two features-feature search and conjunctive search, Treisman and Gelade (1980) maintained that hence in the process, the primary visual features should be presented in two separate feature maps and in the end of the process integrated in a saliency map and accessed to direct attention to an area where items could easily be seen. In all the visual search tasks, which have been provided for our understanding of visual attention, was the pre-attentive stage that processes targets and non-targets differentially and was provided through the works of Neisser (1967), that in this hypothesis the separable features are independently coded and in parallel through detecting multiple target. The method is however considered to be very slower mechanism through the ‘focal attentive’ stage. Neisser (1967) approach notes that visual search for dissimilar letters was faster than for similar letters in which he concluded there is no need to attend to background letter in the lists as letters. All what is required is to look for features in a background of rounded features. If background items are similar to the target, it is necessary to consider more features and this would take longer.

Neisser also argues that in visual search where only targets required response, the non-targets are rejected in the preliminary stage and allow targets to pass through and be identified. Thus, Neisser concluded that there is a pre-attentive stage of visual processing which allows us to detect a target without having consciously attended to and decode each background item. Another claim on this theory is about pre-attentive grouping process, which suggests that features within a given map can be formed into coherent clusters. But this view was rejected when Quinlan, (2003) mentioned that in the first stage of the visual search task the position of features from the one object doesn’t need to correspond with one another in a coherent fashion, because coordination of information also does not exist between the different feature maps. As this method fails, it requires an additional process for such positional information to be cross-referenced and accessed.

References:

Treisman A. and Gelade, G. (1980). A feature integration theory of attention Cognitive Psychology, 12(1), p.97-136.

Richard Gross (2005). The Science of mind and behaviour in psychology. 4th Ed. London

Michael W. Passer and Ronald E. Smith (2008). Science of mind and behaviour. 4th Ed. New York.

Michael S. Gazzaniga, Todd F. Heatherton and Diane F. Halpern (2010). Psychological Science. 3th Ed. New York: Psychology Press.

Nick Braisby and Angus Gellatly (2005). Cognitive Psychology. New York.

[/level-freee-rstricted]

Categories
Free Essays

Investigating Education through Research (IETR)

Introduction

This report reviews the article Every Child Matters written by Straker and Foster (2009) and explores the need for multi agency collaboration in the ‘children’s workforce’ within an English multi disciplinary child based setting. to ensure that the ECM outcomes are met consistently through efficient in service direction of staff at multi tiered levels. This paper argues that if the outcomes of ECM are to be met, that staff working within these areas must work collaboratively. It is anticipated that only by receiving appropriate and effective multi-agency training that consistency and continuity of the broad ECM aims can be achievedSome elements of this article are applicable to my UMP in that the function of ECM broad aims relate to inclusive/inclusion and inclusivity for all children and young people. Some authors represented in this article will be appropriate and significant to my research and may be used as underpinning and reinforcement to my main policy Special Educational Needs Disability Act (SENDA).

The assessment criteria used to evaluate this journal article are:

Context/significance of the research report

Has the significance of the article been explained and justified?

Methods/methodology used

Have different research methods/methodologies been used effectively?

Ethics

Has good ethical practice been facilitated prior or during the research?

Veracity /process of the research

How reliable are the findings?

Influenced by ever changing political issues, Government structures, cultural values and economic factors the authors translated policy guidelines into practical solutions using qualitative methods of research and underpinning citations from multiple theorists to evaluate the level of understanding, participation and clarity of the five Every Child Matters (ECM)(DfEs,2003) broad aims.

Every Child Matters: Change for Children (ECM) (DfES, 2003) is a legislatedinitiative set up by the Government with the intention of ensuring that every young person regardless of circumstance or environment is to be given the underpinning they require to: be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution; and achieve economic wellbeing. (ibid)

Every Child Matters went on to propose a framework of desirable outcomes for children which might form the basis of common assessment systems, shared working practices, and, above all, shared goals for childhood professionals (DfES, 2003: 9). A year later, the Government legislated, in the Children Act, 2004, to: create integrated children’s services departments by combining education and child and family social care functions; Bring these new services together with health and other childhood services by establishing children’s Trusts locally; Develop a set of shared working practices across these services and increase the mutual understanding and common skills base of childhood professionals. Submitted to Manchester University(no date) Dyson et al.

This paper argues that there are flawsidentified byresearchers and theorists. Sloan (2006,12) states (t)o date there continues to be tensions and rivalries between agencies about their professional knowledge, roles and specialisms. The loss of agency specialism and the responsibilities that go with this are potentially traumatic for professionals going through the transition from single agency to multi agency work (Anning et al. 2005,72).

Straker and Foster (2009) argue that as well as training and the ECM agenda, there are issues surrounding professional identity and differentiation. This is substantiated by Macdonald, (1995,35)

It challenges, to invoke Bourdieu’s notion, the various folklores which are attached to different professional arenas and hence seeks to force open social closures which different groups of workers try to uphold as they defend their professional and personal identity (cf Macdonald,1995,35 cited in Straker and Foster 2009)

The content, research methods and findings of this article will be evaluated within this document..

Content

The evaluation criterions for this review are: Has the significance of the article been explained and justified?

Have different research methods/methodologies been used effectivelyHas good ethical practice been facilitated prior or during the researchHow reliable are the findings?

The significance of the article is to establish the level of clarity of the ECM broad aims and multi agency collaboration within children’s services departments. Every Child Matters: Change for Children (2004) identified flaws in the effective protection of children from some departments.

These concerns are further backed up by the Bercow Report [2008] which also pinpoint five major ideas – problemsthat require rectifying to enable adjustments and enhancement to develop.

The recommendationsfrom this report are gathered under these five themes:

Communication is crucial
Early identification and intervention are essential;
A continuum of services designed around the family is needed;
Joint working is critical; and
The current system is characterised by high variability and a lack of equity. (ibid)

Straker and Foster’s review clearly identifies the focus of the research and the points the paper seeks to address. The methods of research were identified as being via focus group and semi structured interviews. The mixed personnel samples were discussed and their purpose was explained. Ethical considerations were identified and appropriate protocol was evident in text. The study findings and results were clarified with recommendations for future action. The researcher concurs with the findings of ECM(2004) and the Bercow Report (2008) from reading associated literature Victoria Climbie’ Report by Lord Laming (2003)and from media coverage regarding failings of services responsible for the care for children.e.g. The case of baby P . Reform is essential to ensure no repetition of these failings.

Ethical considerations for focus groups are the same as for most other methods of social research (Homan 1991). When selecting and involving participants the researchers must ensure that full information about the purpose of contributions is given.

Implications of appropriate ethics consideration was contained in the written body of this text.

It should be stated that none of the participants were known to the researchers prior to these interviews and focus groups, and that, in order to maintain anonymity, participants are identified by letters (Cohort 1) and numbers (Cohort 2) throughout the below discussion. Straker & Foster (2009. P.124)

Honesty and keeping the contributor enlightened about the expectedoutcomes of the exercise is apparent within the paper. Good practice prohibits candidates to be pressured into communicating information, there was no implication of this in the article. Ethical considerations to be aware of in a focus group situation are the processing of confidential material and sensitivity to the feelings of each contributor. Clarification of how contributions will be used and shared by personnel involved in the exercise must be established prior to the activity. Confidentiality must be a focus to be communicated to the group as a priority this avoids any sensitive material being leaked. Analysts have a duty to conceal data from the participants This paper indicates that pseudonyms were used. This complies with the principles of British Educational Research [BERA]. According to Hammersley and Traianou,(2007)commonly recognized ethical principles include harm, autonomy, privacy, reciprocity and equity.

If social research is to remain of benefit to society and the groups and individuals within it, then social researchers must conduct their work responsibly and in light of the moral and legal order of the society in which they practice. They have a responsibility to maintain high scientific standards in the methods employed in the collection and analysis of data and the impartial assessment and

dissemination of findings.[SRA 2003, 13].

Literature Review

A literature review outlines the scope of the subject area, trends, themes and prior research that demonstrate awareness of work carried out on the issue/topic covered.

The article sets out to explore the need for multi agency collaboration within the ‘children’s workforce’. The aim to pilot and assess the overall understanding of policy interpretation in this area. The effectiveness of training to inform and guide these agencies to a joint, collaborative service with less overlap.

The literature review was initially wide including general texts such as ECM,(2003), Children’s Workforce Development Council (2007), Victoria Climbie’ Report by Lord Laming (2003) and Reid, (2005,13). The focus then narrowed drawing on the comments of Allnock et al.(2006,35-7), Atkinson et al.(2007) and Moran et al, (2006) then finally focussing on the topic aims.

Issues surrounding multi agency collusion are not new. The potential benefits have been discussed repeatedly by Government reports e.g. DfEE (1999) and Atkinson et al.( 2002), Atkins, Jones and Lamont (2007) Bloxham (1996) and Payne(1998) all agree that there are possible advantages of shared Practice. The review of literature by the authors suggested anticipated problems with strategy implementation resulting in inconsistencies and overlapping of roles across childcare teams to meet the broad aims of the ECM –Change for Children policy,(2204). Allnock et al. (2006,35-7) in summing up the research within this document identifies the need for more clarification of role where there is full coverage for all areas without overlap.

The focus therefore was for the implementation of strategies that addressed Government policy consistently. The literature review within this article is appropriate; references display deepness and wideness which is clear and concise. Several appropriate references were used in the introduction which gives a broad understanding of policy, statute and the need to work in collaboration to meet the desired outcomes of the ECM: Change for Children (2004). This literature review is good as it gives a wide overview of the subject, informed analysis of findings, identified variables and offered recommendationsfrom the findings.

The spotlight on content and relevance is evident. Critique and collaboration of other policy is also discussed within the paper. The authors state clearly that other theorists and participants concur that it is a ‘two way street’ where united collaboration will only take place when all Government partners and child care professionals share the same ethos, receive appropriate guidance and training and communication is effective . Straker and Foster’s, (2009) could have used the recommendations from the Bercow Report to evaluate and substantiate their own findings.

The literature review concludes by identifying that whilst training has been identified as being a potential asset it is still sporadic this may be due to resisting the opportunities, lack of vision to move with changes or basically that it is not available to certain sectors or personnel. Different sectors within this subject are identified as requiring further investigation these are those that require professional identity (clarification of role) and differentiation (what the role involves for the individual).It is also identified that through ECM professional development and training that these obstacles could be overcome.

Methods and findings

Research is defined by two categories qualitative and quantitative Qualitative research is drawn from many sources. This is primarilydue, as Lancy (1993) points out, to the fact that “… topic, theory, and methodology are usually closely interrelated in qualitative

research[p.3].” Both research methods usedin this journal article were qualitative. Qualitative methods are helpful not

only in giving rich explanations of complex phenomena, but in creating or evolving theories or conceptual bases, and in proposing hypotheses to clarify the phenomena. (Shwartz, 2000). Quantitative research examines the variables of statistical information. This type of research uses controlled systems in order to prove or disprove a theory.

Basic research is primary this type of research is information or data from a chosen subject that requires further explanation or clarification with the intention of gaining more clarification and understanding. The results are not immediate or short term. On one hand there is research which is qualitative with no scientific element in the experiential perception, it is the questioning why in the humanistic sense and the other which is more analytical and questions the relationship amid irregulars being qualitative and /or quantitative research to prove or disprove a hypothesis. However debate between researchers remains as to what is valid research.

Applied research

Applied research communicates outcomes on multiple layers. This type of research scrutinizes issues in genuine context the aim being the provision of a realistic resolution which usually comes from fundamentalstudy in this case Every Child Matters: Change for Children[ECM] [2004]. Applied research can capture why policy accomplishment is delayed or suspended. The example being the variables of policy interpretation, policy understanding and what trainees want their learning experience to be and how to implement changes in the workplace. This is clearly identified within the reviewed journal article.

Primary research consists of interviews and eye witness accounts etc. Which are taken from observational methods. Whereas secondary research could use books, Government documents etc. This method uses the findings of others for the advancement of knowledge. Secondary and primary research is effective when used together as it shows variety and veracity of information and data. The article reviewed used both methods to give weight and impact to the research thus providing depth and breadth.

The researchers aim was to build an accredited, tiered pathway of training. The nature of the research and the distinctive challenges of shared vision and leadership for the Children’s Service workforce is very diverse in its makeup. There were observed identified differences in this pilot research. Straker and Foster (2009) research set out to answer the questions on the effectiveness of ECM aims within children’s services, the implementation within different tiers and multi agency training. The chosen research methodology was focus group ; strength of this method is the ability to inform many people in a limited time a weakness of this method is cost and time constraints. Semi structured interview encourages two way dialogue but the interviewer must be articulate and confident; this can a weakness if not. The framework of the questions from both research methodologies cited above was to establish how far the rhetoric of ECM and the effect of translation over the multi faceted children and family service.

The sampling strategy was opportunistic 3 cohorts of participants from various fields working within children’s services. Opportunistic sampling allows new strands of information to be pursued allowing the length and width of research to be explored.(Journal of Mixed Method Research January 2007 1:77- 100). The piloting of research is to establish reliability and validity in this case by asking the same questions to different cohorts. It is the tool to measure the level of knowledge or participation in an subject in this instance ECM and multi agency collaboration and training.

Researchers will sometimes see if the measure yields different scores for two groups who are expected to differ in the construct. Harter and Pike (1994). Social enquiry when correctly executed can result in effective results for all, this type of research is grounded foundation to build on for the benefit an enhancement of the subject/s being studied. Social enquiry is predicated on the belief that greater access to well grounded information will serve rather than threaten the interests of society. Nonetheless, in planning all phases of an inquiry, from design to presentation of findings, social researchers should consider the likely consequences for society at large, groups and categories of persons within it, respondents or other subjects, and possible future research. [SRA 2003, 17]

Focus groups allow the collating of data from personnel at various levels within educational settings the diversity of their backgrounds and their original outlooks allow the researchers opportunity to obtain information from varying perspectives and backgrounds.

With an individual survey or interview, a respondent’s input will be limited to the ideas and issues that he/she thinks of at the time of the session. The only prompts to trigger these ideas are the specific questions on the survey and/or the comments from the interviewer. In a focus group participants benefit from the ability to build on each other’s ideas and comments, typically providing more extensive input than would otherwise be possible. In contrast to written or online surveys and phone interviews, focus groups present the possibility of observing nonverbal behavior. Wiesenfelder,(no date)

Focus groups are particularly useful when there are power differences between the participants and decision makers or professionals, when the everyday use of language and culture of particular groups is of interest, and when one wants to explore the degree of consensus on a given topic (Morgan & Kreuger, 1993). Kitzinger (1994) argues that interaction is the crucial feature of focus groups because the interaction between participants highlights their view of the world, the language they use about an issue and their values and beliefs about a situation. Interaction also enables participants to ask questions of each other, as well as to re-evaluate and reconsider their own understandings of their specific experiences.

Stavrou, (2002) states that it is useful in qualitative research as unreconstructed logicor the inflexible science of reasoning and is used to understand what is real: the quality , meaning, context or image of reality in what people actually do, not what they say they do [as in the collection of quantitative data] Stavrou, [2002].

Although having many benefits alongside other investigation methods limitations are evident. The researcher, or moderator, for example, has less control over the data produced (Morgan 1988) than in either quantitative studies or one-to-one interviewing. This gives little control leaving a predominantly open ended outcome with an unpredictable predetermined conclusion. A predicted outcome is not the aim of a focus group the diversity of the subjects within the group prohibits this. More positively, focus groups may pose some difficulty in assembly. Obtaining a representative sample may be a challenge as focus groups may not be an option for certain members of personnel. Such as people who have confidence issues, the less eloquent, those with speech delays or learning difficulties. The authors of the journal article did not indicate that the above was an issue for the participants taking part but if this were the case the reviewer would have expected the choice of research method to accommodate the diversities within the sample.

To address some of the weaknesses of a focus group supporting research strategies were implemented. Semi structured interviews are focused two way conversations that are used to give and receive information. This method is conducted with an open framework which differs from a questionnaire where questions are formulated prior to the interview starting. The research methodology of semi- structured interview commences with generalized questions or topics Key themes explored include roles and responsibilities, their perceptions of the ECM agenda, and its impact on their practice as well as their relationships with other agencies. Straker & Foster(2009. P.124)

This then forms the basis of a more specific line of questioning which does not require forward planning. In effect this gives the researcher ‘’carte blanche’’ to create most of the questions during the process giving the interviewer the opportunity to probe so allowing depth of detail or the opportunity to discuss delicate/conflicting issues 1-1’’ Wengraf (2001.P.194-5)

Semi structured consultations may be recorded by prior agreement in compliance with theethic code. This affords more accuracy if supported with notation as back up. The latter ensures that all questions are addressed and ifthere are mechanical glitches there is supporting evidence. The disadvantages of this research method are concluding the interview through visual clues e.g. closing books tidying up papers which may hamper the flow of the process thus turning the interviewee off . Wengraf, [2001. 11] as above states that ending an interview appropriately can lead to the emergence of a whole new area of information.

A further pitfall of this method is that the transcribing and analysis of data can prove time consuming and the opportunity to get side tracked with anecdotes and generally inappropriate information is a possibility. In any research thefirst questions that you should ask are: Has this been done beforeDoes these data already existIf so, is there value-added in doing this againRand, [2009, 16] Whilst these methods offer breadth and depth my opinion is that it would be easy to keep to the structure as other information may come up that could side track the research event.

The principle of the research was the exploration of need for multi agency collaboration within children’s services. The research focused on three sets of personnel working within different branches of the children’s care framework, ethical considerations were followed and informed consent was documented as being obtained. The sample used was diverse in its make up ranging from junior tosenior management levels. The desirable model of practice was taken from the ECM, (2004) shared goals. The article included semi structured interviews and focus groups to establish the levels of understanding and participation within their specialism. The methods chosen proved to be limited and the sample size although diverse in makeup was small which may hamper the overall picture of awareness in this field of enquiry.

Data interpretation and analysis

The authors of this journal article identified that whilst there was marked amountof similarities in opinionwithin the groups any disparity in opinions was thought to be as a result of the lack of clarity of ECM outcomes and involvement therein, this is underpinned by relevant references from Annig et al ; Sloan( 2006) .The researchers in this study identified that participant’s roles and responsibilities varied considerably and this determined the responses of the individual groups. The article therefore implies that other tiers would benefit from the knowledge and understanding of their peers roles within the sector.

Multi-channel collusion: Happens at dissimilar tiers: information transmitted to personnel from different disciplines; co-operation and joint working on a case-by-case basis; co-ordination and formalised joint working; coalition at the level of joint structures; and integration of organisations merging to create a new identity Horwath and Morrison, [2007]. The findings of the research agrees with Horwath and Morrison, [2007]. The diversity of the groups and the differing tiers gave depth and breadth of insight into the levels of participation and understanding of the ECM framework.

The study ranged from a wholly positive attitude from cohort one to cohort two, who whilst still positive did feel confident in highlighting negative and problem areas. Cohort three displayed a an eclectic mix of groups one and two. It was interesting to viewthe responses of the individual groups even though each sample group was mixed in level academically and professionally the responses in group 1 and 2 were on the whole identified as being positive. Disparities were identified in group 2 due to gaps [they felt] in understanding of the ECM framework for some employees this was proving problematic. The dynamics in group 3 was a mixture of positive and negative responses/comments in line with the other two groups sampled. The same comments from individuals during the tasks was encouraging, the mention of shared values, the understanding of other professional roles and a feeling of belonging as a result of this training exercise was a positive step .

Conclusion

The research concluded that key issues that emerged were communication, leadership and consistency in practice. Communication is considered to be of paramount importance in promoting the awareness of knowledge and the clarification of the work that other agencies do. Leadership was defined as being a multi tiered facet which has the ability to empower, promote a shared vision and purpose. This was acknowledged as a being a strength in shared collaboration only when colleagues were willing to change and adapt practiceto new agendas. Whilst the participants in the focus group acknowledge the needs of effective communication, good leadership in order to work collaboratively interpretation of the outcomes of ECM and overlap of role still appears to be problematic areas. Problem areas were also identified, these included lack of consistency in practice, the inability for some employees to move forward with new ideas and policy directives, lack of clarity in job description and poor perception. These findings are reasonably founded as other researchers early in the article indicate similar findings and are broadly reiterated by others participating in this research. These findings are presented in the form of statements that identify the participant by pseudonym but highlight the accurate job title.

Many sources of appropriate documentation were used to support this journal article. Theory is used to embed and underpin throughout the article. The literature used created a chronological picture of policy and the multi strand approach to addressing the issue of lack of clarity and cooperation within children’s services. The description of research participants and levels was appropriate to enable the reader to establish the reasoning behind the research that was to be identified. Ethics guidelines were documented as being followed appropriately. Some reinforcement of ethical paperwork in the appendices would have been useful. Policy and practice mis- match is identified as an ongoing concern across the children’s services sector. This exercise has identified the focal characteristics of focus group and semi structured interviews research methodology, with emphasis being on the interaction and oscillation of participants which only qualitative methods of research can facilitate. Participants who do engage in focus groups often obtain value from the experience but realistic deliberation of time consuming focus group situations from the researchers point of view could be daunting. Lack of chance to complete the required elements involved within the allotted constraints can be a deterrent.

The process of these types of research can be more collaborative than other forms of study and can be an empowering process for participants and an exciting challenge for social researchers wanting to gain a different perspective on their field of interest. (Harrell and Bradley 2009 cited in Rand, 2009) The initial questions identified earlier in this article have been answered and reasoning behind the findings has been discussed. The theory was used to substantiate the outcomes from the article.

References

Article Pros Advantages and Disadvantages of Qualitative Research Methods http://www.Article Pros.com./php?Andrew Schwartz Accessed 5/3/11

http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Advantages-And-Disadvantages-Of-The-Qualitative-Research-Methods/208266 accessed 14/11/10

http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/bercowreview/docs/7771-DCSF-BERCOW.PDF accessed 29/10/10

http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/about/guidance/dutytocooperate/accessed 24/10/10

DfEs,(2003) Every Child Matters. Cm. 5860 (London: The Stationery Office).

DfES (2003a) Every Child Matters. Cm. 5860 (London: The Stationery Office)

Every Child Matters-Change for Children. (2004) Homepage . http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/accessed 5/3/11

Gibbs, A. (1997) Social Research Update University of Surrey Issue 19. http://www.sru soc.surrey.ac.uk/SRU 19 html accessed 5/3/11

Hammersley, M. and Traianou, A. (2007) Ethics and Educational Research. London: TLRP. http://www.tirp.org/capacity/rm/wt/traianou/ accessed 5/3/11

Harrell,M. AND Bradley,M. (2009) Data Collection Mehtods: Semi Structured Interviews and Focus Groups.http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/2009/RAND_TR718.pdf accessed 14/11/10

Harter and Pike, (1994) cited in Lodico, G. Spaulding, D.T., Voegtle, H. (2010) Methods of Educational Research from Theory to Practice. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Homan R (1991) Ethics in Social Research. Harlow: Longman

Horwath, J. and Morrison, T. (2007) Collaboration, integration and change in children’s services: Critical issues and key ingredients, Child Abuse and Neglect, 31, 55-69. http://www.evidencnet.pbworks.com/Developing-the-workforce-for-practice-in-integrated-children%E2%/80%99s-services accessed 5/3/11

Kitzinger J. (1994,1995) ‘The methodology of focus groups: the importance of interaction between research participants’, Sociology of Health 16 (1): 103-21. http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/sru/SRUU19.html accessed 5/3/11

Lancy,D.F. [1993]. Qualitative research in education: An introduction to the major traditions. New York: Longman.

Manchester University(no date) Dyson et al. http://www.education.manchester.ac.uk/research/centres/cee/publications/Fileuploadmax10Mb.136260.en.doc

Mixed Methods Sampling: A Typology with Examples, Journal of Mixed Method Research January 2007 1:77-100

Morgan D.L. (1988) Focus groups as qualitative research. London: Sage Morgan and Kruger, (1993) Social Research Update. ( no date)Issue 19 University of Surrey. http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/sru/SRUU19.html

Morgan D.L. and Kreuger R.A. (1993) ‘When to use focus groups and why’ in Morgan D.L. (Ed.) Successful Focus Groups. London: Sage.

Kitzinger, (1994) Social Research Update.( no date) Issue 19 University of Surrey. http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/sru/SRUU19.html

Qualitative Report, (1995) Vol. 2: 3. http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR2-3/shank.html accessed on various dates

Social Research Association ethical guidelines http://www.thesra.org.uk/documents/pdfs/ethics03.pdf accessed 7/11/10

Social Research Update issue 19 University of Surrey http://www. Soc.surrey.ac.uk/sru/SRUU19html accessed 5/3/11

SRA,(2003,17) http://www.research.shu.uk/ethicsethinicity/docs/newdoc/LearnedSocietiesReviewdraft.pdf

Stavrou, S. (2002) Youth Delinquent Surveys: A Methodology Paper http://www.unhabitat.org/downloads/docs/1845_23210_Aki_methodology_paper.pdf accessed 27.11.10

Straker, Katherine & Foster, Rob [2009] ‘Every Child Matters: Every challenge met?’ Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 61:2, 119-132

Wengraf, Tom (2001). Qualitative research interviewing. London: Sage.

Wiesenfelder, H. (no date) What are the Benefits of Focus Groups. http://www.ehow.com/about_5042427_benefits-focus-groups.html

Categories
Free Essays

Research and explanation into e-branding and it’s impact on the consumer behaviour

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Modern day marketing has greatly developed. Companies now use consumer driven approaches to promote their abilities to satisfy needs and wants of the modern consumer.

E-branding is one of the processes that let a company to promote their products and services over a broad and open platform, accessible to half the world. More than 4 billion people access the web all over the world.

Therefore branding CAN be described as a process of building a positive image for product or service what company provides to its consumers.

Moreover effective branding has the emotional element that creates product loyalty, for example Burger King- “Do it your way” or Nike “Just do it”.

According to Sterne (1999) “A brand is not a name. A brand is not a positioning statement. It is not a marketing message. It is a promise made by a company to its customers and supported by company”.

CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

INTRODUCTION

In this chapter, the main purpose is to understand various concepts of e-branding- for example- different branding strategies, brand equity and elements of success, importance of e-branding etc.

INTRODUCTION TO E-BRANDING

Commercial internet has been around for over a decade. Many organizations used E-branding to promote their brands on internet. According to Kotler et al (2010, pg 255) e-branding is “the creation and development of communications strategies specifically for brands to have meaning and context on the web” and the brand stands for “a name, term, sign, symbol, design or a combination of these, that identifies the product or service of one seller or group of sellers and differentiates them from those competitors”.

The Internet is a tactic part of business strategy just like newspapers or direct mail advertisements or business cards. Therefore branding is an important part of Internet commerce, as branding allows companies to build up their reputations as well as expand beyond the original product and service, and add to the revenue generated by the original brand (Carpenter, 2000).

According to Kotler et al (2010) strong, successful brand can shift the competitive framework in the company favour, given it intangible, difficult to replicate, values with which to supplement its more basic products, price and distribution benefits.

However nowadays people don’t pay attention to the existence of a site as a company, but consumer pays much attention to a good deal for product or service, what could save a lot of money for consumer pocket. According to Levine (2003) in 1995 July 16th -Amazon.com- was the first company who went live on the Internet, even that time period many people had never ever purchased any goods or services from online shopping.According to Interbrand (2011) a survey of Retail Brands Performance 2010 UK, the BEST TOP 10 are–

Rank

Brand

Brand Value ($m)

1

TESCO

10.102

2

MARK & SPENCER

6.074

3

BOOTS

2.480

4

ASDA

1.395

5

NEXT

1.314

6

ARGOS

912

7

SAINSBURYS

849

8

MORRISONS

429

9

WAITROSE

338

10

DEBENHAMS

284

Source: http://www.interbrand.com/en/BestRetailBrands/2011.aspx

For that reason Levine (2003) argues that “E-branding is not just the activity of creating a brand on the internet, it’s not just about making e-commerce site famous and creating brands that end in “.com”, e-branding can create brand awareness, state brand identity, and reinforce brand integrity as well as or better than most other forms of branding communications”.

Internet is as a direct communication with the public, where companies can talk to their consumers what they want to reach or they can talk with consumers who have interest about product or service what organization provides, therefore organizations can reach millions of people for the price of one local newspaper advertisement fees (Sheehan, 2010).

Nowadays organizations need to use WEB, because cited from Levine (2003, pg 169) “Product or service without a web site in today’s market is like a politician without vocal cords: he or she might have great ideas, but who’s going to know about them?”

Internet has transformed the image of marketing and branding. Traditional brand branding types such as TV, radio, newspapers etc is always the choice of marketers to brand the business; however the pattern is changing with consumer buying behaviour shifting towards online purchasing, and for that reason e-branding now is more and more important as ever with the globalized access for billions of consumers. Successful e-branding leads to increase brand awareness and potential access to new customers as well as the development of new lines of business, previously unavailable to traditional companies.

As customers creates their trust in brands through of use and experience, companies has the opportunity to start building relationship with consumers, strengthening the brand further and making it more difficult for competitors to imitate. Therefore it is very important for business to build up memorable brand in consumers mind.

Brand is the product what organization produce, and its represents organizations core values, competencies, attitudes, vision, mission, personality and appearance (Kushwaha, 2009).

More over there exist high competition in market, therefore organization need to find a market niche and accurately adjust the offer to the consumers need. According to study by Cheskin Research (1999) – brand is at the top the list of six marketplace fundamentals for building and maintaining trust on the internet: others are navigability, fulfilment, presentation, technology and seals of approval.

THE IMPORTANCE OF E-BRANDING

According to Aaker (2000) “branding has been characterised as the process of creating value through the provision of a compelling and consistent offer and customer experience that will satisfy customers and keep them coming back”. However Chernatony et al (1992) says that the companies who have strong history of strong brands -will likely maintain greater control over the balance of power between them and customers, not forgetting that command a higher market share and premium price against generic, unbranded, equivalents. Were Rowley (2004) argues that “if organization has the strong and successful brand, then it helps to shift the competitive framework in the company favour, giving it intangible, difficult to replicate, values with which to augment its more basic product, price and distribution benefits”. However Steven (1999) explains that e-branding also provide an economy of scale to the company and provide it with a springboard from which to launch additional associated products and services.

Brand management should aim to build into customers minds a set of perceptions and attitudes relating to an offering, leading to positive buying behaviour (Phillips, 2006).

A brand helps in differentiating one company from another. As it was mention before brand marketing is the process of developing the right image or corporate identity of organization to the market place. According to Show (2009) the main element of good brand development include target market research which involves collecting information on potential clients need and preferences, features and benefits of their products in which the target market will be interested. As Show (2009) explains – brand building or brand marketing comprises of brand name development, brand design, logo design, brand communications, corporate branding and product branding. The creation and development of a well-differentiated brand helps in reaching customers in a way that it is compatible with their beliefs, language, need and expectations (Show, 2009). Branding seeks a certain impression with respect to the qualities or characteristics of a product that makes it special or unique, furthermore with branding, organization can brand product/service brand into the consciousness of consumers.

In generally the importance of branding a product/ service lies in the fact that branding means recognition and an identity (Scholasticus, 2010). However cited from Scholasticus (2010) “actual words “branding” in its origins can be connected to the activity of branding of milk giving animals, where farmers-animal owners- often branded their cows and buffaloes with their signature brands. The milk of animal that were taken better care of, was always in demand and of course-costly”. But from the point of view of business, the process of branding involves making of a trademark and a good name (Scholasticus, 2010). However in the field of marketing, the brand name plays an important role as it helps the people to promote the brand name and its merits quite easily, it also becomes possible for the marketing people to generate intelligence information about brands popularity and also what people exactly want from the brand owning company, and more over as a result of a brand loyal group of consumers, it also becomes easier for marketing department to asses regular and promised demand (Scholasticus, 2010).

E-branding refers to any type of branding by electronic means. Dubberly (2000) describes a brand as a sign, formed by words or graphics that represent or signify the brand and the perception of the brand, which has been shaped by the experience. All traditional branding and e-branding must be customer centric. However the type of customer that organization hope to attract may be different, for example traditional brands may center or a domestic market, where brick- and- mortar locations exist, but the e-brand may look to have an international reach. Traditional branding may look to move customers to impulse buying whereas e-brands may look more for brand recognition. More over e-branding supplement brand recognition on website through community building for their loyal customers.

According to Mega public branding (2011) multinationals corporations operating online face different problems, for example information technologies, but connection with the commercial performance on their online ventures. Often, the budget has been spent on content management system, IT staff, and in local web companies delivering individual user interfaces based on either outdate branding system or on none at all.

Such problems derive from the fact that these companies have failed to invest pro-actively in a global strategic branding program- because organization have failed underestimated the need for a strong global brand vision and for a direct marketing program adapted to the internet (Mega public branding, 2011).

However Hoeck (2007) argues that there exist three main problems with branding, and the first problem is that the companies try to be what they think their customers want them to be. The second problem is that the companies have done nothing about their brands. The third common problem is that the companies who get mired in analysis paralysis- over thinking market segmentation, competitive positioning, value propositions, long- term objectives, short- term objectives, quality research, quantitative research etc. As Hoeck (2007) explains companies need to be “themselves”.

Furthermore Hoeck (2007) explains if companies don’t stand out in the marketplace, they are not connecting with potential customers. And the main reason why companies don’t stand out- is because they don’t know “who” they are (Hoeck, 2007). Nowadays some companies think that they need to be like their potential customers in order to connect with them, so they bend over backwards trying to be what they think the market wants them to be (Hoeck, 2007). Some companies try many different looks and change with the trends, however having many different images and personalities at the same time, makes consumer confused and it dilutes any competitive advantage (Hoeck, 2007).

Good example would be Microsoft, when Windows Live online service was introduced in 2005, and company was criticized for the confusing and inconsistent branding and naming of the Live services (Arvidson, 2010).

In general Windows Liver service includes Windows Live Hotmail, a free email system, Windows Live Essentials, which includes a package of software including Photo gallery, movie maker, and Windows Live Mesh, which allows user to sync photos and documents between computers (Arvidson, 2010).

The brand problems appearance after Microsoft created the “Live” service brand, because it created confusion when the email service was alternately named Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Hotmail, more over the “Live” branding term was not consistently used in several Microsoft products, but it made big confusions in consumers’ eyes (Arvidson, 2010). And only in 2007 Microsoft launched The Windows Live Search service, separating it from its “Live” brand to be a part of its Microsoft ad Centre, which provides pay- per- click advertisement service (Arvidson, 2010).

DIFFERENT BRANDING STRATEGIES

According to Worsham (2009) there exist four branding strategies- Corporate branding, distinct brand, hybrid brand and umbrella brands.

As Worsham (2009) explains- CORPORATE BRAND STRATEGY stands for companies that only offer one benefit for their customers, more over they usually used corporate brand.

Advantage- Everything the company does is attributed to its brand

Disadvantage– Everything the company does is attributed to its brand

The next brand category according to Worsham (2009) is DISTINCT BRAND STRATEGY, what stands for when companies choose to release each product or service as its own brand ( for example Proctor & Gamble)

Advantage– each product stands alone so failures do not affect the entire company or other products. Distinct benefit for each product can be directly attributed to a specific brand.

Disadvantages– according to Worsham (2009) would be that each product will require its own marketing strategy and budget, with no synergy possible between products. Successes will not be directly attributes to the company brands.

The next category of brand is HYBRID BRAND STRATEGY according to Worsham (2009). This brand stands for when a product extends the benefit of an overall brand or company.

Advantages: marketing and branding can take advantage of the overall brand for budget and reputation.

Disadvantage: any problems or negative press for either the product or the overall brand will affect both brands.

The last brand category stands for UMBRELLA BRAND STRATEGY according to Worsham (2009). If company provides different products with different benefits, but they all extend the same value to the customer, sometimes they all offered under an overall brand, for example Nike.

Advantages: each product contributes to the shared value offered to the customer. More over marketing and branding strategies can be at the shared value level, touting all the specific benefits.

Disadvantages: any product can negatively affect the overall brand and specific benefits may be muddled in the overall shared value.

Cited from Irvine (2011) – it doesn’t matter in what industry organization operates, but it is important to choose and used the right branding strategy.

With branding strategies organization define what advertisement campaigns organization will use to promote their products.

Furthermore branding strategy what organization choose will end up forming the identity or image that people will have of the products, causing them to be attracted or repelled by what organization present (Irvine, 2011)

DRIVING ONLINE BRANDS TO SUCCESS

According to Sharpe (2000) the development of a powerful brand requires money, analysis, planning, execution and time, and for that reason there exist principles for building up strong online brand:

KEY BRANDING PRINCIPLES:

Defining the brand
Selecting the brand strategy framework
Developing specific and achievable goals
Operational zing the brand
Leveraging the features of the internet
Monitoring the brand performance
Caring about customers

Source: Key principles for successful online branding, Sharpe, 2000.

Defining the brand is the first crucial step for success. According to Anonymous (2002) investing time and energy in e-marketing, can help understand brand better, involving its meanings to potential consumers, its relationships to competitor brand, and the brand role in the market.

According to Anonymous (2002) there exist three basic brand strategy frameworks, when organizations define their brands-

Conglomerate brand strategy– means that the companies’ brands stand on their own, for example Procter & Gamble with independent brand like Tide and Crest.
Corporate brand strategy– what means that there exist relationship between the company and its brands, for example car brand Renault and its models like Renault Megana and Renault Twingo
Master brand strategy– means that there are very close relationship with brand and company, in different words every brand name includes the corporate brand name, for example hotel chain Holiday Inn and its brand Holidays Inn Express.

Developing specific and achievable goals is next important principle for building up strong online brand. Quoted from Graham (2002) – different objectives demand different strategic approaches. Therefore Goldsmith (2001) recommends distinguish between specific branding goals:

Awareness, therefore organizations need to use online and offline advertisements if they want to stand out from the crowd
Message association- organization need to design perfect brand message to make customers to associate a message with products what organization provide.

Next important principle according to Anonymous (2002) is operationalzing the brand, because the identification and formulation of the brand actions plan can help to increase effective communication and delivery of the brand attributes.

Leveraging the features of the internet, offers advertisers unique opportunities allowing them to make stronger brand affinity (Anonymous, 2002). Therefore Bruner (2000) explains that there exist five features, what are the most important for online branding success, and they are –

Search engines– majority of internet users use primarily search engines such Google or Bing for information research, therefore Web search engines are a key to success by positively influencing a brand awareness among customers
Permission email – nowadays web users have become more and more fed up of “spam” – marketing message bombarding their e-mail boxes, therefore email as online marketing tool can be used for targeting new customers, and retaining existing users if they allowed it. For example- customer relationship e-mail –by Amazon. Com for order confirmation.
Personalization- organization need interact with customer, for example FedEx offering their customers to track the shipment of an online order, and it can also increase customer satisfaction and it can improve brand loyalty.
Word of mouth- can be very cost- efficient tool in acquiring new customers, because usually satisfied users recommends a website to their friends or they give good feedback to another web users who need the same service or product what organization provide
Affiliate networks. Nowadays WEB users more and more randomly surf in the WEB sites, therefore the business existence in many web sites are become more important in reaching potential customers. Therefore Graham (2002) explains that affiliate network allows cooperative advertisements and promotions to be more rewarding than conventional banner and campaigns.

E-BRAND BUILDING

According to Murphy (1993) “branding is concerned with assembling and maintaining a mixture of values, both tangible and intangible, which are relevant to consumers and which significantly and appropriately distinguishes one suppliers brand from that of another”.

According to Treiblmaier (2006) the origins of brand management can be found in the beginning of the 20th century. Its primary goals include the creation and the development of distinguishable symbols, which could serve as a reference and influence a consumer’s buying decision. To make a brand competitive, it is important to have preferences for brand, trust and customer loyalty. E-brands are brands what exist in online and it represents an offer or an organization, depending on whether the company conduct business online, offline or both, there can be seen three different types of differentiation, for example pure players, offline brands and mixed players (Treiblmaier, 2006).

Source: Brand building on the web (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000, p 237)

Aaker et al (2000) explains that there exist six tools for building brand on the web, and they are the most powerful brand-building tool, since it can be tailored to the actual needs of the customers.

Advertising efforts and sponsored content on a third-party site help to get known in the online world.
An intranet can be used to communicate the brand and its identity internally, while a customer extranet makes users feel like being part of a big community.
Web based public relations strategies intend to influence communication measures, which cannot be directly controlled by the company itself, such as private websites, public discussion rooms and chats.
It is of vital importance for enterprises to know about their “online image”, since information is spread easily on the Internet, and can have both positive and negative effects.
E-mail enables the organization to send and receive information, thereby simplifying contact with their stakeholders

Furthermore Clark (1997) explains that to create a powerful e-brand it is important to compare the impact of various factors, for example- web-design, promotions, positioning, security, name, information and service delivery in different market environment.

Website, at the end of the day, is the ultimate one-to-one communication channel, second only to human interface (Sheehan, 2010). A well designed website can be a superb brand extension and sales executive for any company: always on duty, always accurate, always up-to-date (as long as it is maintained) and utterly consistent (Sheehan, 2010). Of course, the web is no replacement for the human intelligence but it is a powerful weapon to extend a brand into the wide world, 24-hours a day (Jacobsohn, 2002).

BRAND EQUITY

According to Kotler et al (1999) “Brand equity is the value of brand, based on the extent to which it has high brand loyalty, name awareness, perceived quality, strong name associations, and other assets such as patents, trademarks, and channel relationships”.

Therefore advertisements are main force what help increase brand equity. Brand equity is measured based on how much a customer is aware of brand, in another words it shows how much customers are willing to switch to another brand, especially when that brand makes a change, either in price or in product features (Kapferer, 1997).

More over high brand equity provides a company with many competitive advantages, for example powerful brands enjoy a high level of consumer brand awareness and loyalty, for example Coca Cola, IBM, Marlboro and so on (Kotler et al, 1999). Furthermore if brand carries high credibility, then organization can more easily launch line and brand extension for example Procter & Gamble (Kotler et al, 1999).

According to Stamoulis (2011) ” building up brand equity in online can take time, dedication and patience, however the intangible asset that is brand equity can go a long way in building and maintaining an online reputation, building trust factor with the search engines and consumer; and it helps increase online brand presence and more”.

Brand equity is not something that just happens; it takes a conscious effort to make sure that the brand equity becomes a valuable asset (Kotler et al, 1999). And for that reason Stamoulis (2011) explains that there exist three ways how to build up brand equity:

Invest in content marketing. According to Junta42 Content Marketing (2011): ”Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience-with the objective of driving profitable customer action”. Content marketing is art of communications with customers and prospects without selling, in different words it is non-interruption marketing (Stamoulis, 2011). In different words consumer doesn’t care what company is or what they do; all what consumers want is to know what organization can do for them, or how the product what company sell can solve consumer problems (Stamoulis, 2011). This type of marketing used organizations around the world, and good examples would be Procter& Gamble, Microsoft or Cisco Systems.
The second way according to Stamoulis (2011) would be cultivate relationship with industry bloggers, because influential blogger (person who writes a weblogs) can provide a huge boom for organizations content marketing campaign. A popular business blog may get thousands of visitors per day and a powerful blogger can help Support business not only for building up brand equity; but it can also help drive incredible amounts of traffic to the site.
The third way according to Stamoulis (2011) would be- building an online community.

ONLINE BRANDING METRICS

Consumers often anthropomorphize brands by endowing them with personality traits, and marketers often create or reinforce these perceptions by their brand positioning (Rajagopal, 2008). Brand personality traits provide symbolic meaning or emotional value that can contribute to consumer brand preferences and can be more enduring than functional attribute. Successful positioning of a brands personality within a product category requires measurement model that are able to disentangle a brand unique personality traits from those traits that are common to all brands in the product category (Rajagopal, 2008).

Therefore businesses need to use brand measurement system to understand how successful they are in the market. However Stewart (2004, pg 382) explains that “The key benefit of a brand measurement system is that it links brand management and business performance, and the system is most powerful when it is viewed as a strategic management tool for continuous improvement rather than a static snapshot in time of the brands performance”.

All measurements need to be considered as a continuous activity (Stewart, 2004). For that reason Stewart (2004) explains that metrics should be grouped in three categories- perception metrics, performance metrics and financial metrics, what allows marketer to gauge the effectiveness of brand- building activity from brand investment (inputs) through to business impact (outputs), (Stewart, 2004).

Metrics of brand measurement

Source: Steward, Brand Management (2004, pg 383)

As Steward (2004) explains that the Perception metrics focus on the range of functional, emotional and latent connections that combine to form an opinion of a brand. This metric also include awareness, familiarity, relevance, consideration and preference, more over all these aspects help to gauge the effectiveness of various brand-building activities across all the points of interaction with a customer. Performance metrics helps to assess how thevarious brand-building activities have combined to drive over- all business results, and range from price premium to loyalty to lifetime value of a customer.Financial metrics represent the economic impact on the business, whether revenue growth or return on investment.

However the biggest challenges what marketer can face is an understanding the causal relationship between brand perception, brand performance and financial impact, but once the causal connections are made across perception, performance and impact, the marketer can tie activities directly to value creation (Stewart, 2004)

STAGES OF BRANDING

Brand changes are related to the expertise of management, the firms’ strategic goals and market targeting activities, the branding activities of other firms, the sophistication of consumers, the level of involvement in the product category, the stage of the product life cycle and the development of branding in the relevant product category (The Star, 2006).

The brand evolution process consists of six stages, where each stage and every stage is related to the consumer engaging, learning, and valuing a particular brand (Shahzad, 2010).

Therefore The Star (2006) explains that there exist six stages of branding:

Unbranded goods. In this first stage, goods are treated as commodities and most are unbranded. This stage can be described as an excess of demand over supply. Producers make little effort to distinguish or brand their goods with the result that the consumers perception of good is utilitarian (Shahzad, 2010)
Brand as reference– competitive pressure stimulate producers to differentiate their goods from other manufacturers, and it is achieved through change in physical product attributes. Consumer memory network expand beyond recognition of the basic product category to include other product information in order to evaluate goods on the bases of consistency and quality (Shahzad, 2010). Organizations used brand names based on their image of the brand as a heuristic device in decision making.
Brand as a personality- by this stage of brand as personality, differentiation among brands on rational and functional attributes becomes exceedingly difficult as many producers make the same claim, and for those reason organisations gives their brand personality.
Brand as icons– in this stage the brand is “owned by consumers”. There exist extensive knowledge about the brand- frequently worldwide- and use it to create their self-identity.
Brand as a company– brand has a complex identity and there are many points of contract between the consumer and the brand.
Brand as policy– this stage is distinguished by an alignment of the company with ethical, social and even political causes.

ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL ONLINE BRANDING

Successful online branding must have excellent management of product positioning, good copy content, good SEO values and an effective online brand presence, all of which require a lot off work (Cleanthous, 2010). The online market may be the biggest in the world, but it is also is the toughest market in the world, because businesses need get consumer attention to the extent of actually buying a product.

Therefore Cleanthous (2010) explains that “Four Ps” of traditional marketing plays huge role in success, and “Four Ps” stands for:

Products– must have a clear target audience online. Core users are the essential demographic for online marketing.
Positions– internet audience will ignore irrelevant information, and that includes any product related to irrelevant information, marketing information must be positioned correctly in terms of the target demographic.
Price– online pricing must be considered to be market sensitive, because in a market where everyone can instantly go and check and make comparisons with other products, pricing must be competitive and realistic.
Promotion– online promotions can be brilliant, incredibly successful or stunningly ineffectual and totally wasteful in terms of time and effort.

However small business Trend (2011) argues that there exist 4Cs, what helps create a great brand online, and 4Cs stands forcontent, consistency, clarity, cultivate.

Therefore Small Business Trend (2011) explains that the most important factor of branding online is CONTENT, not a logo or the colours what company use on their WEB site. Content is a brand message what company are using to unite with their customers (Barone, 2011).

The next “C” stands for – CONSISTENCY. Companies try to create a brand with a cohesive message that users will be able to trust over time. Companies’ logo, web accounts, site colour, and text on message or home page everything must deliver the same message and brand must do – what it promise to its consumers (Small business Trend, 2011).

The next “C” stands for CLARITY. Organisations must create characters, because it allows the organisation best connect with their target audience, but from the beginning it is important to understand who audience is, what they are looking for, and where organization can fit into the mix (Barone, 2011). Organisation must represent clear about what they want their brand connecting fibers to be (Small business Trend, 2011)

The last “C” stand for CULTIVATE. In general brand will not grow overnight; therefore organizations need to cultivate it over time (Barone, 2011). This involves- commenting on blogs, participating in appropriate online communities, responding to people when they mention you, being proactive about building relationships, and being open to letting customers inside organization (Small Business Trend, 2011).

However Philpott (2008) argues that internet brand development is a relatively straight forward and logical process. It starts with creating and increasing an online awareness of products or service what organization represent.

For that reason Philpott (2008) explains that there exist three simple steps to effectively establish chosen online brands by organization on WEB. And these three steps are- exposure, Repetition and build trust.

The first step is EXPOSURE. It is very important for organization to build an online brand to get out in front of people. Therefore organizations can use video or different content to increase their exposure on the internet. For example –social sites, blogs, forums or other platforms can be used for organization to target audience.

The second step is REPETITION. For organization to create and developed an online awareness of brand will take a repeated, consistent and sustained effort in order to be effective. As Philpott (2008) explains “branding is making ’lasting’ impression and this cannot be done overnight”. More over the impression what organization is trying to build in consumers’ eye have a lasting effect and repetition is the key.

The last step according to Philpott (2008) is BUILDING TRUST. Whatever type of contents organization use to build up their online brand, organization want it to be useful to the people they target.

When consumer associated brand with organization, then it is easier for business to target these customers, because when association and reputation increase, so will marketing effectiveness increase, not forgetting trust from consumers (Philpott, 2008).

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39. Treiblmaier Horst (2006), DETERMINANTS OF ELECTRONIC BRANDING: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY, Innovative Marketing, Volume 2, Issue 2, pg 89- 98

40. Small business Trends (2011), THE 4 CS TO IRRESISTIBLE ONLINE BRANDING, available from – http://www.businessinsider.com/the-4-cs-to-irresistible-online-branding-2011-3, (Accessed- 01.08.2011)

41. Philpott TJ (2008), EFFECTIVE ONLINE BRAND DEVELOPMENT- 3 KEY COMPONENTS, available from – http://ezinearticles.com/?Effective-Online-Brand-Development—3-Key-Components&id=5428268, (Accessed 01.08.2011)

42. Worsham Sarah ( 2009), ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF DIFFERENT BRANDING STRATEGIES, available from – http://sazbean.com/2009/03/25/advantages-disadvantages-of-different-branding-strategies/, (Accessed – 01.08.2011)

43. Irvine Tom (2011), HOW TO CHOOSE RIGHT BRANDING STRATEGIES, available from – http://article2008.com/Art/528294/374/How-to-Choose-Right-Branding-Strategies.html, (Accessed 01.08.2011)

44. Barone Lisa (2011), THE 4 CS TO IRRESISTIBLE ONLINE BRANDING, available from –http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/03/irresistible-branding.html, (Accessed- 02.08.2011)

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Outline the principle strengths and weaknesses of accounting and business research.

Abstract:

This project/essay is broadly based on a research article “The management of accounting number: case study evidence from the ‘crash’ of an airline” by Ann Jorissen and David Otiey (2009 publishing date) and “Earnings quality in ex-post failed firmsby Juan Manuel Garcia Lara, Beatriz Garcia Osma and Evi Neophytou (December 2008 publishing date). Main body is mostly concentrated on the research methods used and the strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches and the methodologies used by the researchers in these empirical papers.

Introduction:

The empirical papers which I have chosen for “accounting and business research” have done research on an “airline company” {Case I} and “bankrupt firms” {Case II} and they have conducted several interview, used multi-theory method (upper-echelons, power-circulation & strategic choice) and sampling method & many models to justify there research respectively.

Research method:

Case I company:

The researchers had selected SA irgroup (former Swiss Air) as there case company to study process and mechanism triggering to manipulation of accounting numbers.

Case I data:

Interview of different ex-employees was conducted and different categories of archival data were used by researchers like:

i. Bonus and stock option plan SA ir-Executives – 1997-2000;
ii. Bonus and stock option plan Sabena – Executives – 1999-2000: etc was used.
Case II company:

The researchers selected a junk of companies of UK by sampling method which had gone bankrupt and had data available in FAME entering bankruptcy 1998-2204 or continuing firms which had full data available in FAME 1995-2004.

Case II data:

The data used by researchers was taken from the FAME.

Method used:

Case I

They analyzed data in two phases wherein embedded design was employed which implied multiple levels of analysis (Eisenhardt, 1989). They had adopted interview method for there research but also included archival data. There research was based on both accounting as well as management perspective.

First phase:

In the first stage they arranged data in chronological order and reviewed all internal and external data available. Herein they analyzed data in directionality of the relationships assumed in traditional accounting research. They used a multiple case approach by considering each investment of the SA irgroup in a foreign airline. Each case they analyzed served to confirm inferences drawn from the analysis of the choices made in relation to the SA irgroup’s first investment in Sabena (Yin, 2003). The collection of data on all accounting and real choices with regard to all events and transactions would involve an immense amount of data so they used “disaggregated approach”.

Second phase:

The analysis in second phase is based on theories like upper-echelons, strategic choice and power circulation. Then by combining results of the both phases they could explain more about the directionality between the different variables, one employed in financial misrepresentation and the other employed to create the necessary discretion to engage in managing accounting numbers.

Case II

In the first stage they collected all data they needed for the research via sampling method and then they used “working capital version” model of Jones (1991). They used this model first because research had indicated that management had more discretion over current accruals & and moreover manipulation of long-term accruals such as depreciation was unlikely due to their high visibility & low flexibility (Becker et al 1998; Young, 1999). After working capital version model they used “modified jones model” which works on the assumption that revenues are not discretionary i.e. the model disregards that managers also engage in real activities manipulation.

The next model which they have used was “Kasznik model” (1999). The model incorporates the change in operating cash flow as an explanatory variable to account for the negative correlation between accruals and cash flows. The formula to obtain a measure of abnormal working capital according to Kasznik model is as under:

Where, WCA is working capital accruals, ?REV is change in sales, ?CFO is change in cash flow from operations and TA are total assets, and t is the time period indicator. Next, for each firm, we calculate abnormal working capital accruals (AWCA) as follows:

Where, a0,a1 anda2 are the fitted industry-coefficients from equation.

After Kasznik model they used Chariton et.al (2004) model to calculate the ex-ante one-year-ahead probability of bankruptcy of all failed firms. The formula what they used to calculate it is as under:

Where, Pjt (Y = 1) is the probability of failure for entity j at the end of year t.

The next model they used was of Roychowdhury (2006) & Ball and Shiva kumar (2005). The earlier model was used to analyze the existence of real activities manipulation. Herein was focus was on sales manipulation. The later model was used to measure the different recognition speed of economics gains and losses in earnings by using time series & accruals based measures of conditional conservatism.

Strengths:
Case I Case II
i.Inclusion of both perspective i.e. accounting & management (multiple methods) helped them for understanding the process of financial misrepresentation while as previous studies used accounting perspective only which couldn’t give much clarifications of the process.
ii.This multi-theory perspective allowed them to discover various additional elements of discretion on top of the variables used in the extant literature.
iii.According to me face-to-face interviews as conducted by the researchers is that the answer of the interviewee is more spontaneous, without any extended reflection and manipulation.
iv.This disaggregated approach has the potential advantage of yielding precise, directional predictions based on the researches’ understanding and

Analysis of how decision- makers trade off the incentives associated with the accounting object of the study (Francis, 2001).

v.The biggest advantage what these researchers had was having access to group’s internal information which helped a lot in carrying out there researches and justifying there conclusions.

a) Jones working capital & modified model could analyze a proxy for manipulation capturing only pure accounting manipulation & a proxy that pools together accounting and real activities manipulation.b)By using UK sample they were advantageous as the insolvency code are allowed for a wider definition of bankruptcy, with different implications, than in the US (Franks et al 1996; Bradbury, 2007).

c) The best part of sampling method is that it is straightforward and probably the simplest method and is usually unbiased.

d)There access to FAME database and deriving data regarding bankrupt companies made an ease in making assessment of these and setting up there research.

e) Since the researchers have selected or used purposive sampling wherein probability of getting astray is minimum and variance is low in this case of sampling.

Weaknesses:
Case I Case II
Interview is a complex and demanding technique (Frey & Oishi 1995:02 )
“An unusual degree of trust is likely to lead to willingness on the part of the subjects to answer the questions carefully and with validity. This is especially advantageous when the questions are of a sensitive nature” (Lull 1990:53).
Personal bias may b involved in interview method or understanding factor may become hindrance.
According to me data taken by the researchers was too big in size so accuracy of the result was at stake.
Sampling method can lead to the consequences of redundancy and thus hampering the accuracy of the result.
Using data from data base is complex method and time consuming.

Impact of methodology on my dissertation:

The methods used by the researchers to conduct there research i.e. “sampling” and “interview” and then applying different models and methodologies to derive the results or elaborate there research gave a perfect insight as to how a research should be conducted and then concluded. But I would like to go for “interview”, “available public information” and “questionnaire” method for my dissertation in coming months which would be on “Development in Banking sector in Kashmir” most probably. According to me interview method of collecting information is one of the best as the interviewee has very less time to respond and cannot manipulate answers so quickly in his brain and moreover interview method can help in extracting much internal information if the interviewer has those tactics and attitude of extracting as much information as possible. The questionnaire method gives an insight regarding what people or what the subject think about the given topic or question, it is one of the easiest methods and helps in figuring out the situation or the subject opinion from there point of view and this method would be the most important for my dissertation. Excess to public information and internal information will give positiveness to the dissertation because sometimes these information’s contain very important elements which throw light on various aspects which one researcher is looking for. I would try to rectify all disadvantages of the methods and apply then on my dissertation.

References:
“Basic statistics for business and economics” by Paul G Hoel and Raymond J. jessen
Ball, R. and Shivakumar L. (2005). ‘Earnings quality in UK private firms: comparative loss recognition timeliness’. Journal of Accounting and Economics, 39(1):83–128.
“Elementary business statistics: the modern approach” by Freud and Williams
“Earnings quality in ex-post failed firmsby Juan Manuel Garcia Lara, Beatriz Garcia Osma and Evi Neophytou (2008)

http://ezproxy1.hw.ac.uk:3114/eds/detail?hid=22&sid=2644bf2b-4378-4ae6-bb5f-e0d067d1ee89%40sessionmgr12&vid=1&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#db=buh&AN=39883573

Frey & Oishi (1995:02) “ how to conduct interviews by telephone & in person”

http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/students/aeo9702.html

Jones, J. J. (1991). ‘Earnings management during import relief investigations’. Journal of Accounting Research, 29(2): 193–228.
Lull, James (1990) “ Inside family viewing”; London Routledge
Roychowdhury, S. (2006). “Management of earnings through the manipulation of real activities that affect cash flow from operations” Journal of Accounting and Economics, 42(3): 335–370.
The management of accounting number: case study evidence from the ‘crash’ of an airline by Ann Jorissen and David Otiey (2009)

http://ezproxy1.hw.ac.uk:3114/eds/detail?hid=22&sid=1db6a896-b761-43fb-8f14-c493473c5b2f%40sessionmgr15&vid=1&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#db=buh&AN=48633863


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What are the Advantages of focus group research?

1.0 Explanation of Focus group research

Focus group is small group selected from a wide population and sampled. Very common in marketing research and based open discussion to collect opinions or emotional response to a subject or area. Focus group is a form of qualitative research.

2.0 Advantages of focus group research

In the marketing, focus groups are seen as an important tool for acquiring feedback. Main advantages for Zazen by choosing this tool are:

More accurate information (Opinions or ideas can be refined by the group).
Focus group interviews are more interesting than standard interviews, what cause longer and more revealing answers.
Naturalness of the answers is greater in a focus group, because the questions are directed at a group rather than individuals.
3.0 Disadvantages of focus group research

Focus group research has also some disadvantages, making different qualitative research techniques more effective.

Preparing focus group question is a complicated task.
The responses in the interview are can be different what make the analyze very difficult, or it may be no response what can be a serious problem as well.
Focus groups are generally more expensive than other interview alternatives.
Skilled moderator are difficult to find and very expensive.
4.0 Suitability of Focus Group research for Companies information

The ZAZEN Company wish to know what is its brand image amongst current customers. Is the ecological and ethical image a major selling point for the brand?

Focus group research will allow ZAZEN to find out the answers for those questions. This kind of research contain: synergism, snowballing, stimulation, security, spontaneity and speed which allow to generate more views, information, express their ideas and expose their feelings. People feel comfortable, their responses are spontaneous and reflecting an accurate idea of their views. It is difficult to make marketing research interesting for people, encourage them to respond or avoid self-selection bias in this type of survey, however data collection and analysis in focus group proceed relatively quickly what makes it more than suitable to meet the company’s information needs.

5.0 Explanation of the chosen research comparison

Depth interviewing, is also known as unstructured interviewing and is a type of interview where researchers select information in order to achieve a holistic understanding of the situation.

It is also used to explore interesting areas for further investigation. This type of interview involves asking people open-ended questions, and often involves qualitative data, so it’s called qualitative interviewing.

6.0 Advantages of research comparison

Depth interview research is perfect for Zazen company to investigate personal, and confidential information which are unable to cover in a group format.

It is also the best method for pre-testing, where individual interpretations and responses are wanted.

Depth interviews are also ideal for researching people with busy lifestyles or living abroad. Because 90% of Zazen revenue is coming from US and Japan online sales it is a better choice than focus group

7.0 Disadvantages of research comparison

The disadvantage of Depth interview research is that the respondent may feel uncomfortable and scared, because of the very private atmosphere. Many people are less willing to open in a small group opposite to group interview where atmosphere is relaxed.

A well skilled interviewer can overcome this problem, by establishing the good rapport and trust.

8.0 Suitability of research comparison

Zazen company have to know if the ecological and ethical image (“Soil association” approval, fair trade, not tested on animals, herbal/folk-remedy ingredients.) is a major selling point for the brand

Information like, how customers see Zazen, and what they would like to improve are wanted as well.

Depth interview research can be done online allowing Zazen company to avoid high cost of travelling to US and Japan. It will help ass well to reach those who are unlikely to attend a focus group because of their social status(senior businesspeople or doctors,), or cannot practically attend. (solo parents)

9.0 Conclusion

Depth interviewing is widely used in many kind of different researches and is generally regarded as a powerful tool in extracting data with qualitative nature. Depth interview research has also the different features of being an open situation, and is using techniques such as probing.

Focus group research is paying a particular attention on “the interaction and group dynamics”. That type of research can be an empowering process for participants, and an exciting challenge for all researchers as well because of its more interesting than other research methods nature and naturalness of the answears.

Both research techniques are suitable to answer the Zazen’s questions, however because of the fact that responders are in US and Japan, Depth interview research will be a better solution. Is easier to carry on even on the distance, able to be run online and collect the information, focus group is unable to collect. It will be definitely the more extensive marketing research, but to ensure success, researchers should be sensitive to individuals situations and be flexible in different interviewing circumstances.

To carry on focus group research abroad will be necessary to send well skilled and professional interviewers, what will effect in very high cost of the task. Inevitable will be as well employing some extra staff to organize accommodation, transport etc.

With no doubts the recommended form of qualitative research is Depth Interview. Is cheaper, more suitable for this particular case, and will gain more interesting data.

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Research principles and practice of Cloud Computing

BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Cloud computing has become a new trend of advancement in the world of information technology today in which information technology resources are delivered as a service via the internet (Yao et al, 2010). From this, it is assumed that it is the newest internet-based technology. The increasing growth of this new technology coupled with it imminent productivity and benefit has made most organisations turn to the cloud. The reason being that most organisations can now deploy and manage their IT services via a virtual machine in the cloud, this reduces the enormous cost being spent on setting up, managing and maintaining previous local systems and infrastructure.

Through adoption, the benefits gained from the use of cloud computing has geared most organisations now not tend not to only move their application services but also their databases. Hogan (2008) said in his published article on ‘Cloud Computing & Databases’ that “Cloud database usage patterns are evolving, and business adoption of these technologies accelerates that evolution”. Also, there is now absolute control over data being migrated from internal IT infrastructure to external cloud. A framework that would enable organisation migration to cloud was proposed by Guo (2010). However, there are bottlenecks such as storage capacity, performance and ease of report generation when data is being moved from local infrastructure to the cloud. There is the issue of capacity when migrating data to the cloud (Stacy, 2009). How do we then know which of these emerging cloud-based database technologies would serve the desired needs and wants of various organisation planning to migrate their data to the cloud.

It is in view of this, that this research would examine the present adoption state of cloud-based database technologies and their uses, analyse the issues involved in moving data (BSMS) from local infrastructure to different cloud-based DBMS, perform an experiment to differentiate performance prospects of the alternative cloud-based DBMS, present the findings and make recommendations on suitable cloud-based DBMS technology choice based on optimum performance level.

RESEARCH QUESTION

Considering this age of global technological advancement, the use of cloud-based DBMS has become a more viable option for business and research organisations. Instead of deploying and maintaining internal IT/database infrastructure which is quite expensive, organisations now outsource their IT services including database management to cloud computing service providers on contract basis. The full adoption of cloud computing services is imminent; and the awareness of both business and research organisations to which cloud-based DBMS offers optimum performance is what prompted the research question discussed below.

What is the difference in performance of different cloud-based DBMS technologies?

The scope of the research will be limited to testing the performance of three (3) widely adopted cloud-based DBMS technologies using BSMS data source as case study. Cloud-based DBMS technologies such as SimpleDB, Database.com and OracleCloud would be taken into consideration and performance analysis would be carried out on them.

RESEARCH AIM AND OBJECTIVES

The aim of this project research is to carry out performance investigation and through that means offer credible performance information on the selected cloud-based DBMS technologies. This would stand as a pedagogical material for both business and research organisation in the business of migrating to the newly emerged technology of cloud computing. The under listed objectives would serve as an aid to achieving this sole aim.

To investigate what cloud-based DBMS is and its adoption: The will help to shed more lights on what cloud-based DBMS is and its present stage of adoption.

To investigate how databases are being used in the cloud for business and research purposes: This is to enable all stakeholders especially business oriented organisations to be aware of how databases are being used in the cloud and probably there might be some specific functionality that will help enhance their business or research goals.

To analyse the issues involved in moving data (BSMS) from local infrastructure to different cloud-based DBMS technologies: An analysis of issues involved in moving data from local system to the cloud would be carried out. Issues such as capacity, compatibility and so on would be accessed here. The BSMS data would be used as a case study in analysing this migration issues.

To carry out an experiment to differentiate the performance of the different cloud-based DBMS technologies: A scientific experiment would be carried out to test the performance of two or three cloud-based DBMS technologies. The experiment would be based on testing certain performance criteria such as indexing, fast data query, report generation and so on.

To present the findings and make recommendations on suitable cloud-based DBMS technology choice based on optimum performance level: The findings from the scientific experiment would be used to draw out possible conclusions and necessary recommendations that would enlighten all stakeholders opting for a move to cloud-based database technology on the best choice of such system based on their performance.

LITERATURE REVIEW

RESEARCH METHODS, TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES

This research would be delivered using a deductive approach which is also known as top down approach. This approach offers a deductive reasoning from a general point of view to a more specific one. Considering the fact that the research would be a performance comparison between different technologies, then it is suitable. Koen et al (2005) says “it applies a theoretical, actor decision framework to derive relations deductively using detailed field data”. It uses a water fall model design of deriving a premise from an observation. A hypothesis in form of a research question would be derived, an experimental design inform of an observation would be used to analyse the data and the specified conclusion would be drawn from the findings.

Therefore, the proposed research will be conducted within a framework of cross-sectional research design and methodology. This research would be in form of a scientific experiment because a survey based analysis would be inadequate to test the performance of the different cloud-based DBMS technologies. The experiment would be carried out using the Scientific Method in order to obtain precise and accurate conclusions from the hypothesis and observation drawn. Considering the research question, an experiment which serves as a quantitative method of gathering data would be most appropriate to generate premises and findings that could be analysed to draw conclusions and recommendations to answering the research question. Although, it is a time consuming method but it is relevant to achieving the stated objectives of the proposed research.

Three cloud-based DBMS technologies namely SimpleDB, Database.com and OracleCloud are would serve as the specimen in conducting this research experiment. A scientific method would be employed in order to derive a hypothesis to give a clear description about the performance of each cloud-based DBMS. There are other types of experiment methods such as the Pseudoscientific Method that can be used in carrying out an experiment. In this research, the chosen method will be a scientific method which is more appropriate because it is the most productive and suitable for analysing the samples specimen selected for the research. It is more reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary for the representation of a real world scenario than the Pseudoscientific Method. “The Scientific Method helps to organize thoughts and procedures so that scientists can be confident in the answers they find” (Science Made Simple, 2009).

Alternatively, a quantitative approach in form of a self administered questionnaire could also be used to collect primary data. This research method is cheap, quick and very easy to administer compared to other methods. (Bryman, 2008) The quantitative questionnaire will collect information on the respondent demographic characteristics such as the age, gender, area of study, level of study, job responsibilities, and work experience. In addition, their opinion on cloud-based DBMS computing in terms of perception and adoption will be collected. However, this form of quantitative approach would not be sufficient in determining the performance of this existing technology as this is the sole aim of this research. This is due to that fact that, this emerging technology has not being fully implemented by most organisations. As recommendation for future work, self administered questionnaire could also be used to collect primary data on individuals and organisational opinion for adopting a cloud-based DBMS technology.

Relevant existing literature such as books, journals, articles, newspapers magazine and other acceptable and reliable sources will also be used to generate secondary data. These secondary data would serve as a basis of literature review and evaluation of cloud-based DBMS technology.

RESEARCH PROCESS

As stated earlier on, the research would be carried out using a scientific experimental method to gather required information. A dummy data source would be used to perform the experiment. The BSMS data would be used in studying and analysing the performance of these different cloud-based DBMS. The BSMS data would be moved into the different cloud-based systems. Series of performance test would be carried out on each of them as a standalone and a comparison analysis would follow using some criteria such as indexing, fast retrieval of data, report generation.

Furthermore, the method of analysing the data collected from the experiment would be microanalysis as proposed by Strauss et al (1990).The process of microanalysis involves that the data collected will be coded into probable emergent themes which will be based on personal judgement and supported by relevant evidences. When a new data is been collected, the same method of microanalysis by coding is applied, these new codes will then be compared with the previous codes. This process is known as ‘constant comparison’ which is done when a new data is collected, it continues until no new insights can be obtained from the collected data. Consequently high level factors and inter-relationship will be abstracted, thus premises can be derived based on these factors.

Conclusion

The issue of ethics would be duly considered in the course of this research. Some necessary factors such as experimental condition, subjective interpretation of data and proper derivation of a unified conclusion would be taken into consideration. Other issues such as control experiment, data protection and copyright would be considered adequately. All the laws of confidentiality and data protection would be duly complied with during the process of this research.

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Principal methods for healthcare research

Introduction

Bulimia Nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder, which is characterised by repeated episodes of over eating and bingeing and by a set of compensatory behaviours intended to cause weight loss which includes vomiting, purging, fasting and excessive exercise.

The American Psychiatric society (A.P.A. DSM-IV, 2000) and the World Health Organisation ( World Health Organization. International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10). Geneva, Switzerland: W.H.O., 1992), both suggest the following diagnostic criteria for the disorder

1. A persistent preoccupation with eating and irresistible craving for food.

2 .Repeated episodes of binging/overeating in which large quantities /amounts of food are consumed

3. Patients experiencing BN take excessive measures to compensate for the ‘fattening‘effects of food e.g. vomiting, purging and fasting.

The Beating Eating Disorder Association (BEAT). Formerly known as the Eating Disorders Association, a voluntary sector group in the UK., as provided figures that up to 1.15 million people in the UK, experience a significant problem with BN, and up to 90.000 people are receiving treatment at any one time.

It is not therefore surprising that BN is a major and widespread problem. Consequently a number of treatments have been developed and trialled, based on focused research, and developing an evidence base. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). Published guidance in 2004, (Eating disorders: Core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) 2004). Which recommends Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) as an efficacious treatment as well as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) such as Fluoxetine. Research in this area is an important on a number of counts. Firstly, on clinical intervention grounds so that the treatment offered for the disorder can be expanded and improved and secondly given that the Disorder was only recognised in 1979 ( Russell, G.1979), and with a widespread epidemiology, sufferers experiences of the disorder are important in clinical practice to deepen understanding of sufferers experiences..

The two papers presented here both focus on the condition from different perspectives and ask different questions. The first paper is a qualitative study: Binge and purge Processes in Bulimia Nervosa: A Qualitative Investigation (Jeppson et al. 2003) using a grounded theory design focusing on the two core diagnostic behaviours of BN; binging and purging. They aimed to elucidate information on these processes and their function for Bulimic’s experience.

The second paper is a comparative intervention study, following a quantitative research design – a form of Randomised Control Trial (RCT) – Cognitive-Behavioural, Fluoxetine and Combined Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa: Short- and Long-term Results (Jacobi et al.2002). Both papers illustrate their design paradigms and contain a number of flaws, which will be discussed in relation to their respective research methods.

Their Respective Research Design and philosophy

Jeppson et al(2003), deployed a qualitative research design, which followed a grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss,1967). Grounded theory was originally developed by these social researchers, before the approach ‘split’ into different camps, (Stebbins, R.A., 2001), the approach essentially emphasizes the ’generation of theory’ from data that is acquired in the actual process of conducting the research.

So rather than beginning with an hypothesis that needs to be tested that is the hallmark of the experimental quantitative research design, grounded theory begins the research process with an aim for exploration.

The quantitative paradigm illustrated by the Jacobi et al. (2002) paper, forms the basis of RCT’s and Therapy trials which are common in much of health care research, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and treatment approaches/interventions to Bulimia Nervosa. At its philosophical ‘core’ is the notion of empiricism (Owen, F. & Jones R, 1977), whereby quantitative properties and phenomena and their relationships are observed and studied. Thus the process of measurement is crucial to the paradigm and this affords the connection between ‘empirical’ observations i.e did X effect Y and mathematics, through the expression of quantitative relationships

As measurement is crucial to the quantitative paradigm, the choice of Randomised Comparison Study is entirely appropriate for the Jacobi investigation, as it wants to compare the treatment effects of three different conditions treating the disorder.

Studies of this type are a form of scientific experiment, with RCT’s often referred to as the ‘gold standard’ for intervention studies (Cartwright, A. 2007). They are often used for ‘safety’ studies in drug trials and for testing the effectiveness of clinical interventions and services

The two research studies presented here, display different philosophical foundations, which shape their whole approach to research deign.

The Contrasting Research Hypothesizes

Jeppson et al (2003), developed an aim for their qualitative study based on previous research they had encountered on the BN binge-purge process that is seen to be central to the disorder. The study was not concerned with assessing the ‘effects’ of interventions on binge and purge behaviour, but rather to try and understand what these behaviours meant and the functions they served for the patients they studied.

They considered in previous research that quantitative methods, had focused on self-monitoring of these episodes and ranking them to ‘measure’ links to mental state e.g. Stress, and had deemed that it had not sufficiently led to an understanding of their function as experienced by BN patients themselves. They had an idea that these behaviours were crucial and played a part in assisting sufferers with their ‘emotional regulation’, but were curious and wished to expand an understanding of their role.

They therefore set out with an ‘aim’ for the research to find out what BN patients experiences of these two processes and the meanings /function they served for them, I believe this ‘aim’ was entirely congruent with the qualitative method, and provided a question that RCTs looking at interventions had not and could not study.

The Jacobi et al., paper(2002), asked a different set of questions. They were interested in how CBT compared with the SSRI – Fluoxetine, and a combination of them both . They considered that both the psychological (Wilson, G.T., & Fairburn, C.G., 1993) and pharmacological interventions (Goldstein et al.,1995) had developed an evidence base for treating BN. They designed an ambitious study to investigate the question of the relative short and long-term effectiveness of the three interventions. They questioned whether the combined approach would be more beneficial in the long-term, as previous research studies investigating a combination approach, had experienced high drop-out rates due to the side effects of the of the SSRI, which may have influenced their results.

The study did not include a control or placebo condition, which would be the normal procedure for intervention type studies.The reason for this was that they considered previous research had demonstrated the effectiveness of CBT and Fluoxetine, and was not needed.

The study had four aims: To compare the effectiveness of CBT, Fluoxetine and there combination, to compare the short and long-term effects of these treatments. To inquire about the possible ‘additive’ effect of combined intervention and to examine the differential effects of the treatments. These types of intervention question are suitable for a randomised study as the questions Jacobi and team are asking are essentially ones of intervention and differential effectiveness/measurement on a number of variables e.g. Binging and purging episodes, short and long term effects as ascertained by validated psychological questionnaires and clinical interview.

Approaches to sampling

It is generally considered that sample size is generally much smaller in qualitative studies than those recruited for quantitative studies such as RCT’s (Cresswell,J.W., 2003). As qualitative studies are generally smaller in size, criticisms have been leveled at this paradigm. Although the paradigm does not seek to study the ‘total‘ population, issues surrounding diversity and variation within a population are often cited (Jones,2007).

The Jeppson study used only eight participants The approach to sampling used in the study is important as the process of selecting participants is relevant to the aims of the

study. They used purposeful sampling to generate the data for their enquiry.

Purposeful sampling generally refers to the selection of participants who have experience or knowledge of the area under investigation (Procter et al, 2010) As all participants were selected with a specific diagnosis of BN (APA., DSM-IV,1994) they would all currently have experiences of the processes under investigation.

They were recruited from a suburban area in Utah, USA., Descriptive information, including socio economic variation, inpatient and out patient status and educational information was given.This form of sampling used in the study is not random or based on statistical probability as in quantitative studies.

Sampling in quantitative research design, especially RCT’s, differs. This type of sampling is in essence the selection of of observable units, which can be measured (Maxim, P.S., 1999). As outlined in the introduction, BN is widespread in the UK (and other european countries). It is not possible in the Jacobi study to observe the effects of the treatment interventions with the whole population of people experiencing BN. Therefore quantitative studies tend to study a sample of the group or population which may represent the larger population.

The study recruited its patents by a mixture of media advert and direct referral to the Department of Psychology at the University of Hamburg. All underwent telephone screening, by a clinician not involved in the study (to assess inclusion criteria) and a semi structured psychiatric interview,and physical examination As selecting people for therapy trials is open to sampling errors, in that some people selected,may be ‘exceptional’ or ‘different’ from those of the larger ‘Bulimic’ population.The method attempts minimize these possibilities, by careful inclusion/exclusion criteria and the random distribution of the participants into one of the three treatment conditions[1] The size of sample for the Jacobi study is more important than the qualitative study, to gain meaningful results.

Data Collection Methods and Data analysis

The Jeppson et al study (2003) study, collected its data from interviewing eight participants who agreed to take part in the study, by using a semi-structured interview format, lasting one hour. The semi-structured format differs from a more limited ‘formalized’ set of questions, by nature of its flexibility. It allows for new questions to be added in response to what the interviewee says, inviting and generating further information, which the study utilised. The study used a ‘framework’ and ‘interview guide’, which is a collection or set of topics to guide the interview process (Lindlof &Taylor, 2002). The paper, makes reference to this, but does not provide specific details of what constituted the ‘guide.

To enhance validity, ‘member checks’ were conducted post interview, all participants received a 20 minute phone call, where findings were ‘shared’; allowing corrective feedback on accuracy. Transcripts were also read by three mental health professionals

The study reported that ‘redundancy’ or theoretical saturation occurred between interview 5-7. Grounded theory employs this framework, so sampling frame may be modified as a result of a process deemed, ‘constant comparison analysis’ i.e, that data is determined by its recurrence and re-evaluation to assist with the ‘theorizing process’ of the area under investigation. The type of process involved in the purposeful sampling used in Jeppson’s study, accepts that it is impossible to identify ahead of time, all categories of emergent data that the researcher needs to review. So its is purposely designed to pursue data collection categories to the point of concept or ‘data saturation’, which occurs when the data is stable and the pattern(s) unlikely to change (Locke,2001). They found this occurred during the interviewers 5-7, and added 1 further interview according to protocol. (Lincoln & Guba, 1985)

Once Jeppson collected the data, key points were assigned (or marked) to it, referred to as ‘codes’. Concepts and categories were then then worked out. The categories that emerged are seen within this methodology as the basis of theory generation for the study. This process as been referred to by Glaser and Strauss (1967) as the reverse emergence ‘hypothesis’. Thus, it was considered that to gain information on the participants binge and purging behaviours it was best to ask them about their experiences so as generate theory from their responses, rather than to come to the study with a pre-determined hypothesis or theory which needed testing.

As the researcher is part of the ‘research process’ and data collection, ‘reflexivity’, is a feature of the data collection process. This can be divided into ‘personal reflexivity’ and ‘epistemological reflexivity’. ‘Personal reflexivity’ involves the researcher being aware and examining their own values, experiences etc. and how this may have shaped the research. It also involves thinking about how the research may have affected and possibly changed people and researchers. ‘Epistemological reflexivity’ as such, asks how the research question is defined and conducted and how it may of limited what was foundby asking searching questions about the data and its findings (Willig,C. 2001). Jeppson notes, that he was ‘aware’ of himself and the potential influence on the study.

Jacobi, collected its data by using a battery of validated Psychological Measures to assess outcomes from the three intervention conditions.They were administered at pre and post treatment, and at 3 months and one year follow up. Descriptive statistics[2] were given using the mean[3] and standard deviation[4] of patients with regard to age, marital status, and education. Frequency of binging and vomiting, onset of these behaviours , lowest BMI etc., no table provided.

Data analysis was conducted by using a number of inferential statistical tests, to ‘measure’ and quantify a host of possible influences on the outcome results obtained form the measures of each condition.

Individual one-way analyses of variance ( ANOVAs) were used to compare data, i.e., demographics, clinical variables: frequency of binging etc pre and post. The ANOVA technique involves measuring the variance of the group means and comparing that to the variance predicted if all groups were randomly sampled from the same population i.e ANOVA, tests hypotheses about the mean(s) of a dependent variable(s) e.g frequency of binge eating across the different treatment groups, in relation to the independent variables i.e. group condition

To analyze the differential effects of the 3 treatments is was originally proposed to use uni and multivariate analyses of covariance[5], e.g .to study the covariance of say mood state with frequency of purging across the treatment conditions, to see if the amount of change between two or more variable maps changes in another variable, an estimate of correlation.[6]

Sample size, through attrition was assessed as to small to run theses tests, at one year follow up. The ANOVAs and MANOVA tests used in this study produce the F-statistic[7], which is used to calculate the P-value,[8] and significance. The choice of tests was appropriate[9], given 3 treatment conditions, and the comparative nature of the research question/hypotheses. A intention to treat analysis, conducted for drop-outs was in line with the research protocol for this study design.

Quality of studies

The two papers have approached the subject of BN from different research designs. It is important when considering research papers to assess their quality, in respect of their chosen methods.

Jeppson’s paper, in a my opinion is a well designed study. The aim is suited to qualitative methodology. Assessing the quality of the study as proved challenging as its requires a different set of criteria, from quantitative research (table 1),

And Patton (2002), outlines a series of considerations to establish rigor for qualitative research (table 2 ). The use of one interviewer, sample containing severe bulimics (Anorexia?), may have influenced the themes and results Also some ‘reporting issues‘ concerning method etc,, can all factors effecting quality.

Table1 . Critical evaluation of qualitative study

Table 2. Criteria to establish rigor in qualitative studies

Criteria to establish rigor in qualitative methods. Patton (2002) p.552-558

Study:Jeppson et al (2003)

Binge and Purge Processes in Bulimia Nervosa: A Qualitative Study

My interpretation

(a)Persistent observation(b) Peer debriefing

(c)Progressive subjectivity

(d) Member checks

(e)Triangulation

(f) Transferability

(g) Dependability

(h)Authenticity and fairness

(i) confirmabilityThemes became redundant before last interview -observationStudy does not mention that this procedure occurred.

Unclear in paper- could be implicit in methodology, not mentioned overtly

Yes conducted

Yes

Makes case in conclusion for clinical enrichment and therapeutic alliance

Process was of medium/high quality – audit conducted

Study was conducted and reported with ‘fairness’ to process

Researcher is ‘aware’ of potential influence – audit conducted

The Jacobi research aims were entirely suited to the quantitative randomised trial it adopted to look at the effect of the three treatment interventions and there effects in the short and long term . It, however, suffers from a number of serious flaws, undermining its validity and effects when assessed to by RCT quality criteria (Greenhalgh T.,2006).

Firstly, the study fails to provide a power calculation. For to detect differences between the three intervention groups using randomisation, it is considered that the study should be ‘powered’ i.e contain enough patients to determine statistical accuracy. Normally 80% is considered the minimum standard of accuracy for clinical trails. (Ellis, Paul D, 2010), and leaves it open to type 2 errors.[10]

This was not assisted by the attrition rate, especially at follow up. It contributed to the study being significantly ‘underpowered’, so much so that the results at one year follow-up being of poor quality, the results could be dismissed[11] (Table 3 provides a critical evaluation)

Table 3. Critical evaluation of quantitative study.

Question

Study:

Jacobi et al. (2002)

Cognitive-behavioural, Fluoxetine and Combined Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa: Short and long term results

Does the study address the focussed question?Yes
Were the patients randomly selected from a defined population?Patients were selected/recruited by advertisement and referral to the Psychology dept. Of Hamburg University. All had met the diagnostic criteria for BN.
Was the assignment of patients to the intervention and control group randomised?There was no control group. Study compared effects of three different treatment conditions. Paper states they were randomised, but does not say how and by what method
Were the participants and observers both blinded?Not stated though this difficult to achieve within psychotherapy trials
Aside from the intervention were the groups treated equally?Yes
Was a follow up completedYes- at I year
Did the study have adequate power to see an effect if there was one?No, there was no power calculation provided though this is common in psychotherapy intervention trials/studies. Very high attrition rate – at follow up.
Were all the patients who entered the trial properly accounted for?Full disclosure is given about the dropouts, calculations were made that suggest that the results at follow up lack validity
Were the results of the trial presented in a manner that allowed for full examination?No: adequate data was presented on tests MANOVA/ANOVA. Ci’s not reported

Secondly, the randomization procedure which gives the randomized controlled trial its strength. The investigators did not provide details of the randomization methods its used for the study[12], although this may be attributable to poor reporting, its is a significant emission (Jadad, 1998). The paper whilst providing a range of data, omits to report confidence intervals (CI)[13] for the three conditions and its results, and their were no proposed effect sizes included the aims/hypotheses.

Discussion

Both studies addressed their research using different methods. Both were appropriate for the investigation, illustrating that methodology needs to be tailored to the aim/hypotheses of the question under investigation.

The Jeppson study was well designed, and managed to explore its research aim sufficiently, so some its findings had generalisability in treatment settings, and would benefit the CBT practitioner working with BN and aid ‘therapeutic alliance’ by taking into account its findings. By increasing understanding of how the processes have functions for the individual, well beyond the ‘behaviour’ itself.

Jacobi’s study, although ambitious with a good design in principle, was seriously flawed. The under-powering of the study, the absence of good reporting on a number of methods and data, leave the study flawed. Its hypothesis and aims were suited to the methodology, but its sample size and attrition rate made generalizability of the results difficult. It did provide some evidence (weak), that CBT is efficacious for the treatment of BN, which continues in clinical practice.

Word Count: 3489

References

American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Washington DC., American Psychiatric Association.

Cartwright, N. (2007). “Are RCTs the Gold Standard?” Biosocieties(2): 11-20.

Cresswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA., Sage.

Daly, J., & Lumley, J. (2002). “Bias in Qualiative Research.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 26(4): 299-230.

Ellis, P. D. (2010). The Essential Guide to Effect Sizes: An Introduction to Statistical Power, Meta-Analysis and the Interpretation of Research Results. Cambridge, C.U.P.

Glaser, G. B., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory. Chicago, Aldine Publishing Company.

Goldstein, D. J., Olmsted, M., Thompson, V.L., Potvin, j.H., & Rampey, A.H. (1995). “Long term Fluoxitine treatment of bulimia nervosa.” British Journal of Psychiatry(166): 660-666.

Greenhalgh, T. (2006). How to read a paper: the basics of evidence based medicine. London., BMJ Publishing Group.

Jacobi, C., Dahme, B. & Dittmann, R. (2002). “Cognitive-Behavioural, Fluoxitine and Combined Treatment for Bulimia Nervosa: Short- and Long-Term Results.” European Eating Disordrs Review(10): 179-198.

Jadad, A. R. (1998). Randomised controlled trials: a user’s guide. London, BMJ Books.

Jeppson, J. E., Scott Rchards, P., Mac Hardman, R.K. & Mac Granle, H. (2003). “Binge and Purge processes in Bulimia Nervosa: A Qualitative Investigation.” Eating Disorders(11): 115-128.

Jones, R. (2007). “Strength of evidence in qualitative research.” Journal of Clinical Epidemiology(60): 321-323.

Lehman, A. K., & Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic inquirey. London., Sage.

Lindlof, T. R., & Taylor, B.C. (2002). Qualitative Communication Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA., Sage Publications

Locke, K. (2001). Grounded Theory in Mangement Research. London, Sage Publications.

Maxim, P. S. (1999). Quantitaitive research methods in the social sciences. oxford., Oxford University Press.

NICE. (2004). Eating disorders: Core interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. N. I. f. H. a. C. Excellence.

Owen, F., & Jones R, (1977). Statistics. London, Polytech Publishers.

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative Research & Evauation Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA., Sage Publications.

Procter, S., Allan, T., & Lacey, A. (2010). Sampling. The Research process in Nursing. Eds Gerrish, & Lacey, A. Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.

Ragin, C. C. (1994). Contructing Social Research: TheUnity and Diversity of Method, Pine Forge Press.

Russell, G. (1979). “Bulimia nervosa: an ominous variant of anorexia nervosa.” Psychological Medicine 9(3): 429-480.

Stebbins, R. A. (2001). Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA:, Sage Publications.

W.H.O. (1992). International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10). Geneva, Switzerland: .

Willig, C. (2008). Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology. Maidenhead, Open University Press.

Wilson, G. T., & Fairburn, C.G. (1993). “Cognitive treatments for eating disorders.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology(61): 261-269.

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What is the Importance of Valuing and Acquiring Start-up and Research for a company?

Introduction:

Importance of Valuing and Acquiring Start-up and Research Companies most important companies should always be looking to obtain appropriate start-up or research companies. Suitably, this is general practice among the best, world-class companies. There are a number of most important reasons why this policy benefits most important companies:

• It reduces risk. The main company avoids the need to invest in the most risky, basic research, and can instead focus on ideas that have already demonstrated beginning success.

It provides admission to new ideas. As any corporate research group without doubt develops special expertise in specific areas and actions, it also develops blind spots to various new ideas that may be attractive. These can be obtained by buying promising new groups – which is a way to recruit effective original teams within the company.

• The new technologies provide valuable options on future developments. They position the company to have admission to new products and processes if they are needed, but do not give the company to major investments until there is a proven market or use. These concepts are broadly documented through extensive reports by professional’s expert in the area.

1. Concepts for Valuing Start-up and Research Companies

Start-up and Research opportunities should be valued as options – not by the traditional Net Present Value (NPV) or Discounted Cash Flow (DCF). This is fundamental. The truth of this outlook has been widely documented by economic and finance research and practice. For a most important company, acquiring a start-up is conceptually equivalent to buying a financial option:

• For a sensibly small price (compared to an investment in full development), the most significant company gets the right but not the duty to invest in later stage development in case the position are favorable. This is corresponding to buying an option on the stock market, where the price to gain an option on an asset is much less than the cost of the asset itself.

• If the positions are favorable, the option may be greatly valuable, and the major company can invest further to develop the asset. This is equal to exercising the option by paying the strike price to obtain the full asset. This strike price is normally expensive – but is undertaken only when the gain is known to be very much more, and is almost without risk.

• If the conditions are not favorable, the most important company does not go into full development and losses nothing further than the moderately small cost of buying and maintaining the option. Again, this is corresponding to hire a financial option run out if it is never in the money and worth exercising. In the sense described above, acquiring a start-up is an option in the same way that a lease on a potential petroleum reserve is an option. This similarity has been commonly examined in the economic and petroleum industry. certainly, the value of a lease on a potential field is clearly very different from its discounted cash flow – since a possible field has little if any cash flow. The important point is that introduce and research companies should be valued as options The planned method is a process that provides a check-list of significant information that should be included in a proposal to top management, such as that arranged for the Ford Motor Company. The process includes an significant set of financial calculations, but these are only part of the procedure. It features a transparent decision investigation, coupled with a financial options analysis — to the extent this may be proper. This part of the procedure is called a hybrid real options examination – hybrid because it combines methods, applying each one only where it is important to do so.

The method goes through these steps:

1. Verify the scientific promise of the planned start-up – this is very important as the information offered is often biased or otherwise confusing.

2. Describe the industrial Gap this technology fills within the acquiring company, that is, what are the specific capabilities this technology will give, which the company does not have, and anticipate that it will need. This is what will make the obtain particularly valuable – and will give the business a reason to pay the attractive price to buy the target corporation

3. Sort out the major scenarios that give value to this option. Asset in a start-up, as in any other option, should be done with a credit of the conditions that will make the option expensive and worthy of further asset.

4. Quantify the probabilities connected with these scenarios. In other words, how likely is it that the new knowledge will succeed technically, and that it will also be reasonably worthwhile for the acquiring company.

5. Quantify the financial benefits and costs associated with each of the important scenarios. This consists of the standard financial analysis for these situations, calculated according to the standard process for the company.

6. Include the financial option evaluation if and where appropriate. To the extent that any of the scenarios results in the production of assets that are traded commercially, it may be possible to calculate and use a standard financial options analysis for these portions. However for many technological assets, such conditions will not arise.

1.1. Factors in Place Location:

Businesses setting up shop face such factors as basic material cost, transportation setup, business services, labor, government, customer/market, supplier/resources, and competition. The achievement of internationalizing a business is definitely joined to the setup of the manufacturing plant. Many usual industries in London have moved towards setting up plants in another country to take benefit of and increase a competitive edge using its availability of cheap labor and raw material, but many of these businesses have not seen the profit limitations they originally expected. Why is this so this is a question worth investigatingThe objective of this study is to discuss the factors that should be measured when businesses are looking to setup plants in either in London or another country so to provide a place for them in this development.

1.2 Factors in Plant Location:

When a manager decides to setup shop in a country, how should he assess quality and quantity When a company sets the most important production plant in a country that lacks basic utilities transportation, the common and amazing power outages caused by a poor power system may commonly power failure the production line. This eventually harms the company’s yield, lead time, catalog quality, production cycles, etc. Since the establishment of a basic utilities infrastructure is critical to the operation of a plant, companies will look for this when allowing for locations. Basic material cost, infrastructure setup, business services, labor, government, customer market, supplier resources, and competition. This study uses these eight factors as the establishment in formulating hypotheses.

1.3 The Study’s Hypotheses:

The factor of early plant location will finally influence the judgment of which country the plant ultimately resides in; particularly, it determines whether the plant will be located in London or near to London. Generally, if company policy leans toward low manufacturing costs or being close to constant markets, then the company will favor to setup shop in London. On the other hand, if the company stresses labor quality, communications setup, and business services, then the company will prefer other country. Equally if the company wishes to participate in government policy on financial and tax issues, then it will prefer to be in another country. Lastly, if the company is sensitive to its aggressive status, then it will prefer to be another country in order to closely monitor and learn from its near competitors.

The following hypothesizes:

1: Companies that stress factors in basic material cost prefer to locate a plant in London somewhat than in another country.

2: Companies that highlight the being of an infrastructure setup favor to locate a plant in another country rather than in London.

3: Companies that highlight business services will prefer to locate a plant in another country rather than in London.

4: Companies that highlight labor factors will prefer to locate a plant in another country rather than in London.

5: Companies that highlight constancy of government will prefer to locate a plant in another country rather than in London.

6: Companies that highlight customer/market-related factors will prefer to locate a plant in London rather than in another country.

7: Companies that highlight the closeness of suppliers will prefer to locate a plant in another country rather than in London.

8: Companies that highlight their competitive status will prefer to locate a plant in another country rather than in London.

This study aims to achieve the following: 1) Discuss the types of overseas plants and how they increase competitiveness and 2) Investigate the factors that should be considered when setting up a plant, since the decision will eventually affect the company’s operational results”.

2. Literature Review:

2.1 Global Logistics:

The world economy has shifted from nation-based economies to region-based economies and is moving towards a worldwide economic system. Under this progress, management of production of goods is no longer controlled to one area, and now leaps across the borders of countries and continents. The life cycle of a product, starting from the purchase of capital, to manufacturing, storage, delivery, sales, and even post-sales service and management of the product at the end of its useful life now demand support in the form of business logistics, supply chain management (SCM), and, more broadly, global logistics management (GLM). A global logistics management system is essentially any product distribution or supply chain which crosses country boundaries.

2.2 Logistics Management:

Logistics management integrated support unit strategies and systems plan for control of materials and storage and transport of completed products. Logistics is the part of the supply chain process that involves preparation, execution, and control of product and services from the start to the point of using up including the effective exchange and storage of related data in order satisfy the customers’ needs. moreover added that logistics is the management method between the two points of sales and production. Function-tilting business unit structures involve separating a company into break up departments, and logistics processes are important interface which exist within all the dissimilar business units”.

2.3 The Criterion of Plant Location:

Per actual comments, the most broadly-employed method in displaying location excellence is a tradeoff table which displays the dissimilar important variables. The motives and supporting factors of closeness to customers, climate, legal surroundings, and taxation are all assigned transaction levels and totaled using Composite scores. Specific and common applications in industry can be found within the following texts:. This method is rather objective and the outcome often aligns with the user’s preferences, location plan and cautioned that relying too heavily on financial analysis leads to reset the location and unwanted answers when setting up extra production facilities. The worldwide trade environment, new product systems, and the impact of new methods on the evaluation of plant locations. These scholars optional that the current literature on the determination of plant location is too much limited to quantitative figures such as transport costs, foreign exchange rates, rent and labor rates, and ignores such qualitative factors as basic communications, labor skill level, the legal environment of the local government, and nearness to suppliers.

3. Research Method:

Research Target and feedback form Design The selected company in this study is a boss in another countries motorcycle manufacturing industry, which is considered a conventional industry. This study targeted the chosen company’s suppliers and other chosen companies who had recently established manufacturing plants in either another country or London. The Likert 5-point scale was employed in soliciting the manufacturers’ aim knowledge.

3.1 Collection Method and Basic Information:

The questionnaires for this study were mailed to the suppliers of the selected company A total of 142 copies were sent out, 51 was received back, and after additional contact 34 more copies were established for a total of 85 (60%). Out of the questionnaires returned, 19 were deemed invalid, so a grand total of 66 valid questionnaires were used. The example for this study consisted mainly of the suppliers for our chosen motorcycle manufacturer.

3.2 Calculation Analysis and Discussion:

Logistic failure and the more commonly used multiple regressions both suppose an existing cause and effect association between the independent and dependent variables and uses the various stricture calculations in the model to decide their association (positive or negative relationship). This study’s examination employs a dummy variable, with 1 representing a high relative model of entry (51%.100%) and 0 on behalf of a low relative model of entry (0%.50%), which is very suitable for use in logistic failure. moreover in multiple weakening, the independent variable’s failure coefficient can be used to directly represent an independent variable’s immaterial effect on a dependent variable, but because the logistic regression model is not first order function, its independent variable coefficient (regression coefficient) can only be used to decide the direction of pressure and not the marginal effects that an Independent variable has on a dependent variable. In order to determine the unimportant effect (probability),

It is essential to substitute the independent variable coefficient in the equation.

P(Yi=1)=1/ [1+exp (-a-bXi)]

Yi is the dependent variable, Xi is the ith vector of the independent variable a is the cut off parameter, b is the regression coefficient vector

Since the probability value increases with the value of the independent variable in the equation P(Yi=1) =1/1+exp(-a-bXi), when the independent variable’s parameter estimate value (regression coefficient) is positive it means that the factor in question has a negative impact on a company’s decision to establish a plant in Another country. Conversely, a negative parameter estimate value represents a positive impact on the decision. In our model all variables are basically measuring the total impact of all variables.

4. Conclusion and Recommendation:

This discovery also validates the adulthood of the motorcycle manufacturing industry in another country and the truth that suppliers tend to group together in close closeness. The electronics and machinery industries have especially achieved the maximum level of effective development of its supply chain. Because of this, establishing a plant in another country will allow a company to rapidly reap the benefits from its various suppliers. This termination makes clear that managers who locate plants in London have, as their main targets, local customers as different to regional or global customers. The main contribution of this study is its attempt to analyze the factors moving the location of a plant in both another country or London, since actual studies of this kind, on a large scale, are rare. Plant size is another control variable that is clearly different when comparing another countries and London location plants.

Discoveries from the Study and Discussion:

In the future, despite of any countries or London location in setting up plants, labor, suppliers, and customers and markets will be the critical drivers in the purpose of location. This study provides actual donations in the area of operational policy for managers of multinational organizations. While the world’s businessmen are focusing their attention on London–tomorrow’s “plant for the world, it is essential to first understand its compensation, and when considering establishing operations there evaluate the abovementioned labor, supplier, and customer/market issues. Additionally, before establishing shop overseas, first have a clear plan of action. If it is just an initial examining investment, then an overseas plant is best, and the monetary investment should be moderate as to not bring down the close relative business in case the asset does not bear fruit. As for ecological factors, plant size and the type of industry and product are considered to be important controlling factors in the firm of a plant.

Suggestions for Future Study:

Future study in this area should consider a self-motivated systems approach, since London is obviously a rapidly developing market and to study it using a passive method is risking the data quickly becoming obsolete. In order for companies to obtain a continuous competitive advantage, a dynamic approach to research is necessary, but the considerations involve higher costs and the necessity of greater capital.

References:
“Hybrid Real Options Valuation of Risky Product Development Projects Richard de Newville and James Neely – International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management, Vol.1, No.1, pp.29-46, Jan. 2001 http://ardent.mit.edu/real_options/Real_opts_papers/hybrid_real_options_valuation.pdf”.
“Value-at-Risk Analysis for Real Options in Complex Engineered Systems Rania Hassan, Richard de Newville, Olivier de Wick, Daniel Hastings and D. McKinnon Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 2005 IEEE International Conference on Large Scale Infrastructures, Hawaii, 10-12 October in Volume 4, pp. 3697-3704, Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/ICSMC.2005.1571721”.
“http://ardent.mit.edu/real_options/Real_opts_papers/Hassan_deN_IEEE_SMC_2005_final1.pdf”.
“Rohit Bhatnagar, Jayanth Jayaram, and Yue Cheng Phua. 2003. Relative Importance of Location

Factors. Journal of Business Logistics, Vol.24, No.1, p.147-170”.

“Ballou, Ronald H.1999.Business Logistics Management: Planning, Organizing, and Controlling the Supply Chain, 4th Ed, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall”.
“Bowers ox, Donald J. and David J.Closs.1996. Logistical Management: The Integrated Supply Chain Process, New York: McGraw-Hill Companies”.
Bruce, James M.1985. Investigating Possible Areas and Choosing the Best Location, Industrial Engineering, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp. 60-65
Luss, Hanan.1982.Operations Research and Capacity Expansion Problems: A Survey,OperationsResearch, Vol. 30, No.5, pp.907-947
McCormack, Alan D., Lawrence J. Newman, and Donald B.Rosenfield.1994.The New Dynamics of Global Manufacturing Site Locations loan Management Review, Vol. 35, No.4, pp.69-80
Schemer, Roger W.1983.Every Factory has a Life Cycle, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 61, No.2, pp.121-129

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Critical Investigation into Research background and Sport/Event sponsorship

Introduction:

This chapter will present information about the research background and sport/event sponsorship. This will also present the difference between event marketing and sports sponsorship. At the end of the chapter, we will state our purpose with the study as well as our research questions.

1. Background:

In modern age tools of marketing has changed drastically. One of the new technique followed by commercial firms is event or sports sponsorship. Main reason behind this is to achieve strong brand image and increase sales. (Abrahamsson et al 2003) In adittion Brassington-pettit (2000) states that in order to accomplish this marketing communication is very important. It will lead to grab new market share and improve the relation with exsisting customers. (Brassington-Pettit 2000)

Another important factor of marketing is promotion, which consists of diverse elements such as advertising. (Bassington- Pettit 2000) which in definition is any paid form of impersonal promotion transmitted through a mass medium. Abrahamsson et al (2003) states that advertising is paid for and impersonal. distinguish it from other promotion elements such as sales promotion and personal selling. All of these already mentioned promotional elements, along with public relations traditionally combine for a company’s promotion mix, which is the total marketing communication program of a company. (Abrahamsson et al 2003)

Due to increased in traditional mass media advertising cost commercial organisation has come up with the idea of sports or event sponsorship. Where is can serve equally to achieve marketing goals, such as increased sales, brand recognition and awareness. The companies search for new media opportunities, have during the past decades resulted in two new, related and increasing areas in the marketing communication mix, event marketing and sports sponsorship. (Eriksson-Hjalmsson, 2001)

Main reason of choosing Indian premier league is to explore the sport sponsorship industry of India which is heavily focused on cricket and its associates. Although, recently India has organised Commonwealth games and cricket world cup 2011. At prest the market size is $40 bn of which 90% delegated to cricket. New sensation in Indian sports industry is Indian Premier league (IPL) which is also based on cricket. (Chakraborty 2010)

1.1.1 Event Marketing

Event marketing concepts is very new in the commercial world and got a quick growth in past decades. According to Eriksson-Hjalmsson (2000) event marketing can be used as a vital tool in both business to business marketing or business to customer marketing. The conception of event marketing had its major breakthrough at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. The organizer of the Olympic games took the initiatives to offer the sponsors a greater use of their sponsoring of the Olympic games. Contracts were signed which specified the type of exposure the sponsors were to enjoy based on the amount of monetary contribution, as well to what extent the sponsors could use the event in their marketing communication as a whole. To distinguish the difference between the new type of sponsoring from the old, more philanthropic charity from companies, the concept of event marketing was created. (Behrer and Larsson 1998)

According to Cambell (2008) On the other hand event sponsorship got quite a huge market in India. Due to high growth economy and massive interest in sports specially in cricket the sponsorship market has grown rapidly in India. Multiply these together and you get huge prospects for sports TV rights and marketing. The predictions are born out by figures from recent years with the sponsorship market estimated at $250m per year, TV rights worth over $350m per year and both growing fast. (sportbusiness 2008)

According to Abrahamsson et al 2003, sponsorship growth is very high in recent year and Eriksson-Hjalmsson (2000) added that the growth of event management in the United States today is three times larger than advertising. Event marketing is an approach to cooperate the communication around an own created or sponsored event. In event marketing the event is an activity that gathers target groups in time and space: a meeting in which an experience is created and a message communicated. (Behrer-Larsson 1998)

It is very lucrative for the commercial organisation because through event sponsoring it is easier to reach the target market and also it is the best way to interact with the customer directly.(Abrahamsson et al 2003) Regardless of the title or place in the organization, in a sponsorship when a company sponsors a sports event or concert, or supports a charity with its resources, it is attempting to increase the perceived value of the sponsor’s brand in the consumer’s mind. Furthermore if sponsoring sport event the company reach two potential markets, the participant and the spectator. (Wells, Burnett & Moriaty, 2000)

1.1.2 Sports Sponsorship

Sports sponsor can be defined as investing in a sports entity such as athlete, league, team or event to support over all organizational objectives, marketing goal and promotional strategies. (Shank 1999) India is the second largest country in world regarding population and got plenty of potential in sports sponsorship. Cricket is the most popular sporting event for Indian people and few of its neighbour countries. Through sponsoring cricket a firm can easily reach its target market in India. Abrahamsson et al (2003) described that sponsorship is an important tool of marketing communication that seeks to achieve favourable publicity for a company and or it brands within a certain target audience via the support of an activity not directly linked to the company’s normal business. (Bennet, 1999)

Sponsorship activities present multiple opportunities for achieving awareness objectives, and much of the research to date in the sponsorship literature has focused on awareness issues such as sponsor recall (Gwinner, 1997). While there are obvious aesthetic pleasures in merely watching a sport performance, the real intensity comes from identifying with an individual or team as they strive to win. It is this phenomenon that has helped make sport a vehicle for the promotion of corporate interests, hen professional team sport has emerged in the nineteenth century, the relationship between sports teams and fans was sustained by reliance on local ownership and involvement. (Mason 1999) The general reasons for making sports sponsorship a part of the promotional mix, is the widespread appeal of sports across all ages, areas and life-styles. This is especially true when it is linked to the television broadcast of the events. Many sports and sporting events attracts high television coverage which means that even if the actual sponsorship coast might be high, the sponsorship is still quite cost effective in comparison to the cost of direct television advertising. (Brassington-Pettit 2000)

The difference between event marketing and sport sponsorship, which could be considered as a highly related area to event marketing, is that event marketing could only occur in marketing. In order for something to be classified as event marketing it is required that the company uses the event both as an attempt to communicate and as a separate medium. (Behrer-Larsson, 1998)

1.2 Research Purpose and Research Question:

As discussed earlier in the thesis, the use of sports sponsorship is becoming more and more common. Many of the companies are sponsoring sports event/team due to the fact that teams and sports events tend to draw a very variable audience. The motives for companies to sponsor a team can be to strengthen their image or increase awareness of the companies. However the sport sponsorship is very important to the teams, because a lot of the money that the companies put into team is often used to pay the players of the team. This means that the company that does the sponsoring becomes involved in a seller-buyer relationship. The sponsorship must however be in line with the other promotion activities that are conducted within the companies and must be measured carefully to be sure of the effects, to become successful when conducting sport sponsoring. It would be interesting to study sport sponsorship from a promotion perspective, which is to look at both the seller and buyer perspective. The research purpose of this thesis can be stated as follow;

“How and why is the Indian Premier League (cricket) being used in commercial organisation’s promotional strategies?”

There are many different factors that can be related to the research purpose, but this thesis will focus on certain aspects. However the complete understanding and describing of sports sponsorship will not provided. Interested areas to investigate further would be the objectives for sport sponsorship to describe how it is conducted and how it is promoted. One other area that is of interest is the sponsor and the sports entity, to investigate the effectiveness of sports sponsorship and how it is evaluated. Another issue that can be of great interest is how the companies select the right sports entity to sponsor. To be able to answer these questions, Three research questions related to the research purpose are formulated as follows:

1: How could the objectives for sports sponsorship be described- form the sponsor and the sports entity perspective?

2: How could the choice of the right sports entity to sponsor be described?

3: How could measuring the effectiveness of sport sponsorship be described?

1.3 Limitations:

The sport sponsorship area is a very large area with many different factors to investigate. However due to time limitations the thesis will focus on the company conducting the sponsorship and the team that are sponsored, from a marketing communications perspective. This is because it is beyond the scope of this study to include all factors within the area of sports sponsorship

2 Literature Review:

Marketing is one of the core functions of a business firm. There are plenty of issues to discuss about marketing. Academia and researcher has done lots of research on this topic and explored many areas of marketing. Many academia has described marketing is mainly based on fours area which are Product, Place, Price and Promotion. My research is mainly based on Promotion. Promotion is a vast area to explore which includes promotional mix. CIM (2009) described that, The promotional mix is a term used to described the set of tools that a business can use to communicate effectively the benefits of its products or services to its customers.

The promotional mix includes the following tools:

Advertising:
Public relations
Sales promotion
Direct marketing
Personal selling

Furthermore other academia included:

Sponsorship
Viral marketing
Exhibitions
Corporate images

In previous section I have described about promotion and promotional mixes. My main concern is Sponsorship and its uses in sports world specially on cricket and Indian Premier League(IPL).

Objectives for Sports Sponsorship:

One important issue with sponsorship that is often brought up by academia is the objectives, since the objectives could serve as a benchmarking tool when companies are in the process of measuring the effects of the sponsorship. (Hultman-Lindgren, 2001) Not unlike advertising objectives, sponsorship objective could be categorized into direct and indirect objectives. The direct objectives focus on short-term consumer behaviour and to increase sales. Indirect objectives will also ultimately lead to increasing sales, but focus more on generates awareness and create the desired image for the brand. (Shank 1999)

The Main Objectives in sponsorship are as follows:

Awareness

Brand awareness is achieved by exposing the brand to as many potential consumers as possible. (Gwinner, 1997) To generate awareness or raise awareness for the company’s products, service, product lines or corporate name. From the sports entity’s perspective, having a large corporate sponsor will certain high lighten awareness for them as well. The corporate sponsor will also ensure that their promotion mix elements are integrated, which means that the sponsorship should work along with the advertising and sales promotion for instance, to achive the desired objectives. Recent studies have also shown that sponsorship generates higher levels of awareness in desired target markets compared to advertising. (Shank 1999)

Competition:

Another objective is to meet any competitive threat on the sponsorship market. In other words, if they do not make the sponsorship investment, their competitors will. Even though, ambush marketing by competitors could damage the sponsorship. Ambush marketing means a planned effort by a competitor to associate there sleves indirectly with an event or a sports entity to gain at least some of the benefits and recognition that are associated with the sponsorship. (Shank 1999)

Brands that do not want to split out on expensive sports sponsorship often turn to ambush marketing. Ambush marketing has a negative effect on everyone involved with an event, and in the end, the sport itself. Event organiser find the value of their right diminished. It becomes harder to find sponsors and consequently, to host events. (Elliott 2002)

Reaching target markets:

One of the major benefits with sports sponsorship is the ability to reach people with a common interest; therefore sporting events are a natural form for psycho graphic segmentations of consumers. By doing that, the company reaches consumers with similar activities, interest and opinions. Therefore, sponsorship that is used effectively could reach target markets more efficiently than traditional advertising. (Shank 1999) Corporations are looking to begin or increase existing sport sponsorships to take advantage of consumer interest and the ability to reach large and yet specifically targeted audience. (Sherry, 1998)

Relationship marketing

Building relationship with clients or putting the principles of relationship marketing to work is another sponsorship abjective. Corporate hospitality managers from the behalf of the sport entity could for instance provide sponsors space and time to socialize with clients. The existence of luxury boxes at stadiums and arenas, are just one piece of evidence that corporate sponsors will go to great length and spend larger amount of money in order to maintain and build successful relationships with their clients. (Shank 1999)

Image Building

This perhaps the most important reason for sponsorship. Providing a positive association of the brand of the sponsoring organization. The sponsoring organization associates itself and its brands with the positive images generated by the unique personality of the sponsored sports entity. The main principle here is that the image of the sports entity should be congruent with the actual or desired image of the sponsored organization and their products. (Shank, 1999)

Amis and Lack agrees with that and further states, “Sport sponsorship has been shown to be an effective tool with which to alter and enhance a company’s image and reputation. Consequently, they believe that sport sponsorship should be considered an important resource, which can help companies to secure a position of competitive advantage. However, for any advantage thus gained to be sustainable, they content that the sponsorship on which the advantage is based must be developed into an area of distinctive competence within the firm” (Amis-Slack, 1998)

DeVous (1994) States that there is of high importance as a sponsorship objective to creat brand image locally, nationally and intentionally. Furthermore he states that sports sponsorship could provide effective associations for the product or the brand, bringing it values such as fitness and excellence. (De Vous, 1994)

Sales Increases:

This is eventual objective for almost all of the sponsoring organization, although sometimes indirect or through a hierarchy of effects. Occasionally, sporting events are created for the sole purpose of making profit. Without sponsoring, the event would lose its ability to do so. (Shank 1999)

The researchers Amis and Alack, like shank, also rates the objectives of awareness and brand images as the two most important objectives in sports sponsorship. (Amis-Slack 1998) Pope (1998) also ranks the increased awareness and brand image as the two primary sponsorship objectives and so do shanklin and Kuzman (1995). Another objective that is not mentioned by Shank is the objective of community relations and support of the local community, which is of particular importance as an objective when it comes to the sponsoring of a sport stadium. (Clark 2002)

Public relation could be considered as another promotional objective for sposrts sponsorship. There are several benefits with sports sponsorship in that perspective. First and foremost, it is developing consistent message points among all marketing factions, including public relations, advertising and promotions. Another benefit is opportunity. Experience will show taht there can be a number of missed public relations opportunities when public relations is practiced totally independent of promotions, advertising and other marketing functions. Another example of benefits from integrating marketing is the practice of using the making of an advertisement for public purposes. (Sherry 1998)

2.2 Choosing the right sports entity to sponsor

A number of factors need to be considered before a sponsorship decision is made, factors which are summarized in the model below:

Relevance

The first consideration is relvance, which might be the most important factor of them all. There needs to be a match between the chosen sponsorship and the target audience that the organisation is seeking influence.

The Length of impact:

The length of impact may also be a consideration. One off event, unless they are of the very high profile kind, does not generally have the same capacity to build the community relations or establish brand familiarity that sponsoring of a sports league or a series of events could accomplish. However, if the objective is to raise the awareness on a short-term for a new product for instance, a one off event could be useful. (Brassington –Pettit, 2000)

Uniqueness

Being the sole sponsor is something that is desirable, but not alway possible to accomplish, especially for larger international events or sports entities, where the costa are very high. Sponsoring a major league can, however, provide uniqueness without being the sole sponsor, as the awareness of the company could rise drastically through television and other forms of media coverage such as print media and broadcasted media. (Brassington-pettit, 2000)

Spin- off promotion

The potential of spin off promotion, is another important factor to consider. Spending more money on advertising and other forms of promotion along with the sponsorship would maximize the impact of the actual sponsorship. (Brassington-Pettit, 2000)

Compatibility:

Finally, it is always important to ensure that there exists a compatibility with the sponsor’s overall promotional objectives. Sometimes personal interest of key personal in the sponsoring organization could cloud judgment over the real fit with the commercial objectives and all the cost effectiveness of the sponsorship in question. In that sense, it is recommended that sponsorship decisions are as calculated as unemotional from a corporate perspective as any other promotional decisions. (Brassington- Pettit, 2000)

Despite the growing role of sponsorship in the marketing activities of firms worldwide, academic research in this area has been limited. Adopting a classical conditioning framework, this research examines the effects of consumers’ attitudes about a sports event, their perceptions of sponsor-event fit, and their attitudes about the sponsor on a multidimensional measure of sponsorship response. The results suggest that sponsor-event fit, perceived sincerity of the sponsor, perceived ubiquity of the sponsor, and attitude toward the sponsor are key factors in generating a favourable response from sponsorship. Liking of the event and perceived status of the event have differing significance depending on how response is measured. Sponsor-event fit also has interaction effects with perceived status of the event and personal interest in the event. The implications of these findings for sponsors and event managers are examined, and future research directions are outlined. (Speed and Thompson, 2000)

Past sponsorship research has primarily focused on awareness building strategies, and has virtually ignored brand image issues. As a result, little guidance is available for firms that seek to use sponsorship opportunities to aid in brand positioning. This study reports the results of an experiment using undergraduate student subjects, who assessed the degree to which a sporting event’s image was transferred to a brand through event sponsorship activity. Subjects in the sponsorship pairing treatment were more likely to report similarities on brand-event personality components than subjects who were not exposed to the event-brand sponsorship link, thus supporting the notion that sponsorship results in image transfer. Further, we found that when event and brand are matched on either an image or functional basis the transfer process is enhanced. Management implications for sporting event sponsorship and future research directions are discuss (Gwinner and Eaton 1999)

Walliser (2003) on his article, extends and updates an existing review of 80 Anglo-Saxon studies on sponsorship published prior to 1996 with contributions of European origin (66 additional studies) and studies published subsequently (87 additional studies). His research thus gives an account of the evolution and current state of sponsorship research worldwide and points out new research directions. The researcher also mentioned that, over the past years there have been clear advances in research into, and evaluation of, sponsorship effects and strategic sponsorship management. There has also been a notable shift towards a better understanding of how sponsorship is perceived by the end consumer. Overall, however, research is focused too much on consumer goods and service companies pursuing awareness and image objectives while engaged in sports sponsorship. Other types of institutions, other sponsorship objectives and other sponsorship areas are widely neglected. The same is true of the functional affiliation of sponsorship within the firms and sponsorship budgeting processes.

Sports sponsorship always been a major part of US sports. Cornwell and Maignan 1998 states that, Sponsorship as a promotional activity has grown remarkably in recent years, estimated sponsorship expenditures reached $13.4 billion world in 1996 (International Events group report 1996). Total sponsorship expenditures in the united States across the categories of sports, music, entertainment, festivals, causes and the arts more than duble between 1989 and 1994, increase from $2.1 billion to $4.25 billion (Kate 992, Smith Shannon and MacClaren 1995). In comparison with total 1994 U.S expenditures of $150 billion (Advertising Age 1995), the $4.25 billion spent on sponsorships may appear trivial. However, available statistics on sponsorship expenditures account only for fees paid for sponsorship rights (InternationalEvents Group Report 1996), and therefore do not measure the impact of sponsorship in overall marketing strategies. Supporting advertising, promotion expenditures and client entertainment are some of the costs not incorporated in current figures. The leveraging of sponsorship investments through the use of sponsorship linked marketing programes that include everything from magazine, television and newspaper advertising to licensing, in store displays, sampling and incentives make sponsorship a significant contributor to many communication programs.

In recent years, India has put plenty focus on sports sponsorships and star endorsement. Recent invention of Indian premier league is now one the most highlighted event in sports world. Furthermore, Cricinfo (2010) mentioned that this not only sports event it is a golden goose for Board of Cricket Council India (BCCI). It also gave new meaning to cricket. Promoting the event is not only concern of BCCI, it is also a issue of promoting product and service for several firms. Management Funda (2010) highlited the groth and money involvement in IPL promotion. $1026 bn involved in the hole broadcasting process of the event and $108 mn is used for promotion of IPL. Sony television network got 10 years right of broad casting IPL. Furthermore, DLF has secured exclusive rights to the IPL title sponsorship worth Rs. 200 cr, which is over $50 mn.

Corporate sponsorship of sports, arts, and cultural events has increased dramatically over the past decade. Still, academic research on sponsorship as a promotional tool has been sparse. Cornwell and maignan (1998) offer a cross-disciplinary review of research conducted on sponsorship worldwide. Five research streams–nature of sponsorship, managerial aspects of sponsorship, measurement of sponsorship effects, strategic use of sponsorship, and legal/ethical considerations in sponsorship–are examined and critically assessed.

The increasingly important role played by sponsorship in the marketing mix has given rise to the view that it should be considered a strategic activity with the potential to generate a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. This paper extends that line of argument through the development of a conceptual model of the sponsorship – competitive advantage relationship. In particular, it argues that two levels of competitive advantage need to be considered, namely the competitive advantage of the sponsorship and competitive advantage in the market. Critical to attaining an advantage in the competitive world of sponsorship is the deployment of a range of organisational resources to support the sponsorship investment. A series of research propositions are advanced showing the relative importance of different organisational resources. Effectively resourced sponsorships generate a competitive advantage in the “market” for sponsorships, which in turns leads to competitive advantage and superior performance in product markets. (Fahy et al 2004)

The companies involved in sponsoring IPL is well renowned and big players in their own industries. All these companies are throwing money to get higher return. Sony television got the right to broadcast the whole event, which allow them to sign few more sponsors like, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Vodafone, Citi Bank, Godraj group who have access to on air category exclusivity. The whole event allowed the broadcaster to fix a stratosphere rate beginning from $5000 per second to $25000 per second. During the event company profit rasied from 5.7% to 28.8%. (Hindustan Times, 2008)

The versatility of sponsorship as a communications medium to a variety of corporate audiences is examined, with broad clusters of sponsors based on audience orientation being identified. Audience priority is examined with reference to sponsor characteristics and the main promotion instruments used by sponsors to communicate with their audiences are analysed. (Crowley 1991)

Sports currently represents the eleventh largest industry in the USA. Despite this, there are few mainstream marketing journals willing to publish manuscripts on sports marketing. In an effort to circumvent this problem, some sports marketing authors have “disguised” their research under the guise of “servicescapes” or leisure services. Looks at the topical content of the leading outlet for sports marketing manuscripts, Sport Marketing Quarterly. The author classifies the articles into 18 categories. Sponsorship is the most frequent topic for sport marketing papers, followed by general research and research on fans, spectators, and participants. Provides an extensive bibliography of sport-marketing articles published in academic journals. While a few of these are in marketing journals, the vast majority are published “out of field”. (Shannon 1999)

Sports Sponsorship is used to support marketing and corporate objectives, such as improving a company or brand image and increasing consumers’ intentions to purchase a company’s product or service. Consumers’ intention to purchase derives from two main influences, a positive attitude towards the brand itself and brand exposure and prior use. This suggests a relationship between sport sponsorship activities, brand exposure and attitudes towards the brand itself. This relationship was explored in this research by considering the impact of three factors on the level of intention to purchase a company’s products or services. The factors considered were corporate image, prior product use, and belief that the company sponsors a sport or sports. Subject were asked to rate their intention to purchase products or services from 10 companies in five product groups. Companies were also assessed for corporate image, belief that the company was a sponsor of sports and prior use. The relationships between these variables were examined using ANOVA. Significant effects on purchase intention were found from brand, from the belief that the company sponsored sport, and from the corporate image of the company. No interaction effects between the independent variables were found. (Pope and Voges 2000)

The case examines the concept of sports sponsorship and how ambush marketing has become an integral part of such sponsorship. The reasons underlying the increasing use of ambush marketing tactics by companies during sports events are analyzed. The case discusses in detail the dispute between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Indian cricketers in late 2002 regarding certain anti-ambush marketing clauses that restricted players from endorsing the products of companies other than the official sponsors chosen by the ICC. The case also examines the role of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the official sponsors as well as the ambush marketers in the dispute. (ICMR 2003)

According to Hindustan Times (2008), the Indian premier league is a miracle in the world cricket. Cricketing world has experiences the drastic changes in cricket after the evolution of new cricket concept the Twenty20 cricket. Lalit Modi creator of IPL brought out the dream concept in reality. IPL has been as market controversy where the end result is unparalleled, residual awareness of product and brand recall. IPL is new in the market and established itself as a new brand in a very short span of time. Controversy could be an amazingly low cost marketing tool that makes for the phenomenal media coverage and can be very effective if managed well it reaches the minds of the masses and will be of immense help in eliminating the odd dose of adverse publicity in the short term.

By far it is quite clear that sports sponsorship is a big subject area which hasn’t been a major concern for the academia. Even though, major brands are involved in this matter but still remain in shadow. Another important fact is IPL, fast growing sporting event grab the attention of millions and billions of people. Now a days it is one of the hot topic in cricketing world. Sabnavis (2008) has described IPL as mixed of cricket, glamour, celebration and celebrity craze. Plenty of movie star from Indian movie industry with the backing from business tycoons of india like Ambani and Mallya are involved in the event.

To decribed the Main feature of IPL Hashmi (2011) says, IPL is the version of the game which is only 2 and half hours long, fast paced and exciting. IPL has employed economists to structure its lead so that revenue is maximized. Since it has a large potential mass audience, IPL is very attractive as a marketing communications opportunity, especially for advertisers and sponsors. The league functions under a number of franchises. Each franchisee is responsible for marketing its team to gain as large a fan-base as possible. The long-term success of all of the franchises lies in the generation of a solid fan-base. The fan-base will generate large TV revenues. Different fans will pay different amounts to watch their sport. There will be corporate hospitality, season tickets, away tickets, TV pay-per-view and other ways to segment the market for the IPL. There is a huge opportunity for merchandising e.g. sales of shirts, credit cards and other fan memorabilia. Grounds can also sell refreshments and other services during the games. Marketers believe that the teenage segments need to be targeted so that they become the long-term fan-base. Their parents and older cricket fans may prefer the longer, more traditional game. The youth market may also impress on their parents that they want them to buy their club’s merchandise on their behalf – as a differentiator or status symbol. Franchise fees will remain fixed for the up until 2017-18, which means that the investment is safe against inflation which is traditionally relatively high in India. (Hashmi 2011)

India is growing fast in the economy and IPL is one of the examples of building a strong economy. Not many academias have shown concern on this event but my concern is to go deep to find the promotional strategies of company involved in the event. This is a market of billion audiences with huge turnover. IPL is being used by many big brand companies to achieve competitive advantages in the market and different promotional strategies are involved in the whole process. My research will highlight all those fact involve in promotional strategies by commercial organisation involved in the event.

3 Methodology

In this part of thesis methodological issues will be presented. Methodological consideration and choices will be stated, as well as the research design, research approach, purpose, sample selection and data collection.

3.1 Research Purpose

According to Sauders (2000), there are three main stages in research exploratory, descriptive and explanatory.

Experatory

Here research is designed to allow the investigator to “look around” with respect to some phenomenon. The aim is to develop suggestive ideas. The research should be as flexible as possible and provide guidance for procedures. The focus is initially broad and becomes progressively narrow as the research progresses.

Descriptive

The object of descriptive is to portray accurate profilr of persons, event or situations. It is necessary to have clear picture of the phenomena on which to collect information to the data collection.

Explanatory

Studies, which establish casual relationships between variables, may be turned explanatory studies. The emphasis here is on studying a situation or a problem in order to explain the relationships between variables.

In this research, I am exploring the sponsorship relation from both sides in a marketing communication perspective in order to gain a deeper understanding of our research area, describing when we discuss what the objectives are, how to the select the right sports entity to sponsor and how to measure the effect of the sponsorship, and explaining when I am answering my research questions. However, although I have parts of all three, I am mainly descriptive.

3.2 Research approach

Depending on what kind of information that is investigated, the qualitative or quantitative method is used. The qualitative method does not strive to generalize the problem, istead, the purpose is to give a deeper understanding of the problem. (Saunders, 2000) Further, the method is flexible and thereby, the researcher can correct possible weaknesses and incorrect formulations and also add lacking questions. However, one weakness with this method is that it can be a problem to compare information from the different objects of study.

Qualitative investigation usually take form of case studies or surveys, with few research objects. (Saunders, 2000)

The quantitative methods deals with the problem in a wider perspective, usually through large questionnaires with closed end questions, tha is, questions, which call for responses that are strictly limited. The gathered material is expresses in figures. The primary purpose of this methodological approach is to be able to generalize the gathere information. I have assumes that qualititavie approach in my research since i wanted to gain a deeper understanding of different issues regarding my research questions. (Saunders, 2000)

3.3 Research strategy

The purpose with my research was to investigate “How and why is The Indian Premier League (Cricket) beaing used in commercial organisation’s promotional strategy”I then divided this research purpose into three research questions:

The objective with sports sponsorship

How to choose the right sport entity to sponsor

Measuring the effect of the sponsorship

There exist five major strategies when it comes to research strategy, Experiment, survey archival-analysis, history and case study, which are explained further in the table below:

StrategyForm of research questionRequires control of behavioural eventsFocuses on contemporary events
ExperimentHow, Why?YesYes
SurveyWho, What, where, How many, how much?NoYes
Archival-analysisWho, What, where, How many, how much?NoYes/No
HistoryHow, whyNoNo
Case studyHow, whyNoYes

Table source: Relavent situation for different research strategies, Yin 2003

Case studies means to investigate few objects thoroughly. It is most suitable research strategy if the objective it to achieve detailed understanding about different kinds of processes in few objects. (Sauders, 2000) Since I am focusing on contemporary event and the fact that our research questions are formulated in “how and why” form, a case study generally, is the most suitable method for problem like this one according to Yin (2003)

3.4 Data Collection

First, The research has to decide if the investigation should be based on already gathered information, that is, secondary data, or if fieldwork has to be carried out, to gather primary data (Saunders, 2000). When conducting case studies and collecting data. There are six sources where the researcher can collect evidence and those are; Documents, archival records, Interviews, direct observations, participant-observation and physical artefacts. These sources of evidence can both be strong as well weak evidence according to Yin (2003). These types of evidence and the nature of them are displayed in the figure below this paragraph.

Source of evidenceStrengthsWeakness
DocumentationStabile can be reviewed repeatedly

Achival Records
Interviews
Direct Observation
Participant observation
Physical artefacts

3.4.1 Secondary Data

Sauders (2000) points out, that secondary data is data, which already has been collected by someone else. For another purpose. Statistics and reports issued by governments, trade associations, and so on, are some sources of secondary data. The IPL websites and website and annual reports of company associates with IPL sponsorship are other sources of secondary data (Saunders, 2000). In this research I have used the website pages of case study event and companies for providing general company information in our data collection chapter.

3.4.2 Primary Data

Primary data collected directly by the researcher for specific purpose. Two main techniques for gathering primary data exist, that is, inquiries or interviews, Either one or a combination of both, can be used. (Saunders, 2000)

Inquiries can reach a geographically dispersed sample simultaneously, since the interviewer presence is not needed. However, the absence of the interviewer brings that the questioning process is beyond the interviewer’s control and the respondent does not have the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions. Therefore, the questions have to be standardized, and quite structured, so that the respondent does not interpret them wrongly. Problems that would have been clarified in a personal or telephone interview remain misunderstandings in an inquiry. (Saunders 2000)

Since I wanted to ask rather complex questions, I decided that inquiries would not suit my research.

3.5 Sample Selection

In order to select a sample for my case study, I have used judgmental sampling. Judgmental sampling basically means that the researcher select cases best suited to answer the research questions. This form of sample is often used when working small samples such as in a case study research when you want to select cases that are particularly informative (Saunders, 2000)

I have then chosen to look at the sponsorship collaboration with the Indian primer league (Cricket) and its sponsor DLF, Hero Honda, Kingfisher gorup and Sony entertainment

3.6 Data Analysis

Data analysis consist of examining, categorizing and tabulating or otherwise recombine the collected data. (Yin 2003)

There are three concurrent flows of activity in data analysis (Yin 2003)

Data Reduction: Selecting, focusing, simplifying, abstracting and transforming the data. The purpose is to organize the data so that a final conclusion could drawn.
Data Display: Taking the reduced data and display it in an organized and compressed way so that conclusions could be easily drawn
Conclusin drawing/verification: Noting regularities, patterns, explanations, possible configurations, casual flows and propositions

Then the data collected for each research questions is reduced and simplified through use of within case analysis. The within case analysis is performed by comparing the empirical finding with already exsisting theories and concepts brought up in th conceptual framework. (Yin 2003)

Since I only have a single case study, I will be using a within case analysis to analyze my data.

3.7 Validity and reliability

Mrshall (1997) put more importance on reliability and validity in a research. He also stated that, perfect reliability is often beyond reach in social science but we must aim to achieve as high a level as possible. According to Powell and Connaway (2004) emphasis need to be placed on the validity and reliability of any research design in order to reduce the risk of getting wrong answers. Validity seeks to ensure that the level of sophistication of the research design and the extent of control, achieves the set research question(s) while reliability seeks to guarantee consistency and legitimate generalizability of results obtained (Marshall 1997). Validity refers to how well a specific research method measures what it is supposed to measure. (Sauders 2000). A validity problem could be if my collected information were from poor sources. Generally other types of validity problems could lie in the analysis of the data and the conclusions drawn. (Saunders, 2000). A research can hold high reliability if it can be repeated. Several times and the results are the same, or almost same. One reliability problem could be if the respondent is not suited to answer my questions properly, to eliminate that problem, I have chosen annual reports and main website of all the sponsor and the event itself.

4. Data Presentation:

In this chapter, The empirical data collected from the company website and annual reports will be presented.

4.1 Comapny information – DLF

DLF Limited, is India’s largest real estate company in terms of revenues, earnings, market capitalisation and developable area. It has over 60 years of track record of sustained growth, customer satisfaction, and innovation. The company has 399 msf of planned projects with 56 msf of projects under construction.

DLF’s primary business is development of residential, commercial and retail properties. The company has a unique business model with earnings arising from development and rentals. Its exposure across businesses, segments and geographies, mitigates any down-cycles in the market. DLF has also forayed into infrastructure, SEZ and hotel businesses.

Development Business

The development business of DLF includes Homes and Commercial Complexes

The Homes business caters to 3 segments of the residential market – Super Luxury, Luxury and Mid-Income. The product offering involves a wide range of products including condominiums, duplexes, row houses and apartments of varying sizes.

DLF is credited with introducing and pioneering the revolutionary concept of developing commercial complexes in the vicinity of residential areas. DLF has successfully launched commercial complexes and is in the process of marking its presence across various locations in India.

The development business at present has 302 msf of development potential with 40 msf of projects under construction.

Annuity Business

The annuity business consists of the rental businesses of offices and retail.

With over six decades of excellence, DLF is a name synonymous with global standards, new generation workspaces and lifestyles. It has the distinction of developing commercial projects and IT parks that are at par with the best in the world. DLF has become a preferred name with many IT & ITES majors and leading Indian and International corporate giants, including GE, IBM, Microsoft, Canon, Citibank, Vertex, Hewitt, Fidelity Investments, WNS, Bank of America, Cognizant, Infosys, CSC, Symantec and Sapient, among others.

DLF pioneered the retail revolution in the country and brought about a paradigm shift in the industry by redefining shopping, recreation and leisure experiences with the launch of City Centre in Gurgaon in 2000. The Retail Malls business is a major thrust area for DLF. Currently, DLF is actively creating new shopping and entertainment spaces all over the country.

The company has land resource of 86 msf for office and retail development, with 16 msf of projects under construction.

DLF owns and operates the luxurious Aman Resorts across the world and also has an alliance with Hilton Group for development and management of hotels in India. The hotel business is currently undergoing a comprehensive review by the company as regards its future plans, commitment towards resources and the extent of scale and size that the company aspires to achieve in this segment. DLF has a development potential of 11 msf for its hotel business.

DLF has a strong management team running independent businesses, though complementing each other in cases of opportunities of mixed land use. DLF’s mission is to build a world-class real estate development company with the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and customer service and to thereby contribute to and benefit from the growth of the Indian economy.

4.2 Event Information: Indian Premier League (Cricket)

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a professional league for Twenty20 cricket competition in India. It was initiated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquartered in Mumbai supervised by former Chairman and Commissioner of the Indian Premier League Chirayu Amin. It is currently contested by 10 teams consisting of players from around the world. It was started after an altercation between the BCCI and the Indian Cricket League.

In 2010, IPL became the first sporting event ever to be broadcast live on YouTube. Its brand value was estimated to be around $4.13 billion the same year.According to global sports salaries review, IPL is the second highest-paid league, based on first-team salaries on a pro rata basis, second only to the NBA. It is estimated that the average salary of an IPL player over a year would be $3.84 million. The brand value of Chennai Super Kings (winner IPL 2010, finalist IPL 2008 and semi-finalist IPL 2009) is estimated at USD 48

IPL Trophy

The diamond-encrusted trophy of DLF Indian Premier League (IPL) Cricket was designed by Orra brand, owned by Antwerp-based Rosy Blue Group. It comprises of a player in a gold leafing. He is shown holding a bat in his hand, next to a map of India. On the map, the names of all the IPL teams have been engraved by rubies. It took a team of as many as 14 craftsmen to make the trophy. Every year, the winners of the IPL T20 tournament are presented with a replica of this trophy, along with the prize money

Franchises

The winning bidders for the eight franchises were announced on 24 January 2008. While the total base price for auction was US $400 million, the auction fetched US $723.59 million.

On 21 March 2010, Pune and Kochi were unveiled as the two new franchises for the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League. The base price was $225 million. While Pune was bought by Sahara Adventure Sports Group for $370 million, the Kochi franchise was bought by Rendezvous Sports World Limited for $333.3 million. The process was to have been completed on March 7 but was postponed by two weeks after many bidders and the BCCI objected to stiff financial clauses. The second franchise auction fetched total $703 millions

Television rights and sponsorships

The IPL is predicted to bring the BCCI income of approximately US$1.6 billion, over a period of five to ten years. All of these revenues are directed to a central pool, 40% of which will go to IPL itself, 54% to franchisees and 6% as prize money. The money will be distributed in these proportions until 2017, after which the share of IPL will be 50%, franchisees 45% and prize money 5%. The IPL signed up Kingfisher Airlines as the official umpire partner for the series in a 106 crore (US$23.53 million) (approximately ?15 million) deal. This deal sees the Kingfisher Airlines brand on all umpires’ uniforms and also on the giant screens during third umpire decisions.

Television rights

On 15 January 2008 it was announced that a consortium consisting of India‘s Sony Entertainment Television network and Singapore-based World Sport Group secured the global broadcasting rights of the Indian Premier League. The record deal has a duration of ten years at a cost of US $1.026 billion. As part of the deal, the consortium will pay the BCCI US $918 million for the television broadcast rights and US $108 million for the promotion of the tournament. This deal was challenged in the Bombay High Court by IPL, and got the ruling on its side. After losing the battle in court, Sony Entertainment Television signed a new contract with BCCI with Sony Entertainment television paying 8,700 crore (US$1.93 billion) for 10 years. One of the reasons for payment of this huge amount is seen as the money required to subsidize IPL’s move to South Africa which will be substantially more than the previous IPL. IPL had agreed to subsidize the difference in operating cost between India and South Africa as it decided to move to the African nation after the security concerns raised because of its coincidence with India’s general elections.

20% of these proceeds would go to IPL, 8% as prize money and 72% would be distributed to the franchisees. The money would be distributed in these proportions until 2012, after which the IPL would go public and list its shares (But recently in March 2010, IPL decided not to go public).

Sony-WSG then re-sold parts of the broadcasting rights geographically to other companies. Below is a summary of the broadcasting rights around the world.

On 4 March 2010 ITV announced it had secured the United Kingdom television rights for the 2010 Indian Premier League. ITV will televise 59 of the 60 IPL matches on its ITV4 free to air channel.

On April 1, 2011, Rogers Sportsnet announced that it signed a four year exclusive deal in Canada to broadcast 36 group stage matches, 3 playoff matches and 1 championship match on Rogers Sportsnet One.

Sonsorships

India’s biggest property developer DLF Group paid US$50 million to be the title sponsor of the tournament for 3 years from 2008 to 2010.

Other year sponsorship agreements include a deal with motorcycle maker Hero Honda worth $22.5-million, one with PepsiCo worth $12.5-million, and a deal with beer and airline conglomerate Kingfisher at $26.5-million.

Revenue and Profits

The UK-based brand consultancy, Brand Finance, has valued the IPL at $4.13 billion (Rs 18,998 crore) in 2010. It was valued at U$2.01 billion in 2009 by the same consultancy.

There are disputed figures for the profitability of the teams. One analyst said that four teams out of the eight made a profit in 2009. While the London Times said that all but Kings XI Punjab made a profit. In 2008, Kolkata Knight Riders is the most expensive team followed by the Mumbai Indians but unable to make it into the semifinals despite being the favourite.

In 2010, the IPL expects to have 80 official merchandising deals. It has signed a deal with Swiss watchmaker Bandelier to make official watches for the IPL.

According to a recent study by a UK-based brand valuation consultancy, the brand value of the IPL has more than doubled to USD 4.13 billion (over Rs 18,000 crore) from USD 2.01 billion in 2009.

The franchises have been a part of this growth. Chennai Super Kings, who were ranked fourth last year, has emerged the most valued franchise in 2010. The CSK franchise has moved up the ladder to number one with a valuation of USD 48.4 million. The Kolkata Knight Riders co-owned by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan comes in second with a valuation of USD 46 million and the Rajasthan Royals, co-owned by Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty comes in third with USD 45.2 million. The Royal Challengers Bangalore, owned by Vijay Mallya, is ranked fourth with a valuation of USD 41.9 million and is followed by the Mumbai Indians (USD 40.8 million), Delhi Daredevils (USD 40.5 million) and Kings XI Punjab ( USD 36.1 million). The Deccan Chargers are at the base with a valuation of USD 34.4 million.

5 Data Analysis:

In this chapter I will analyze the collected data, utilizing a within case analysis each of my three research questions.

5.1 RQ1- Objectives:

In my conceptual frame work Shank (1999) lists six xommon objectives fro sports sponsorship, objectives, that are also frequently used by other researcher such as Amis and Slack and Pope. This six objectives are awareness, relationship marketing, reaching target markets, image building, competition and sales increases.

Furthermore in my conceptual framework, sherry (1998) emphasizes the importance of the public relation factors as a sponsorship objective.

5.1.1 DLF

Of those objectives mentioned in the section above DLF belives that image building, in terms of associating themselves with successfull sports like cricket and an event like IPL, with broad public interest and awareness, would be beneficial from an image point of view. Another image related objective is that DLF feels that sponsoring IPL is a way of supporting country economy and cricket infrastructure.

As DLF is in building and construction business it can attract the customer from other countries. Cricket is not only popular in India is also equally popular in many develop countries like England, South Africa, Australia, Newzealand, Canada. Apart from this developing countries like Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Kenya are involved with great in big terms. It is a very big market for DLF to explore and growth.

The one objective that DLF differ from shank’s (1999)stated objectives are competition. DLF does not make their sponsorship decisions based on possible threats from competitors and risk of ambush marketing. In accordance with Sherry’s (1998) theories are the facts that DLF rates the possible media coverage high as a sponsorship objective and that the company values the opportunity to participate in events with IPL, that could give positive public relation effects. An example of such an event could be IPL signs a high profile players like Shachin Tendulkar, Jaque Kallis, Watson, Pollarad, Gayle, Malinga. This creats an opportunity for DLF to take advantage of to achieve positive PR.

5.1.2 Indian Premier League

Like the sponsoring company DLF and hero Honda, the sports entity IPL also rates image building objective quite highly. IPL aims to strengthen its own bran by associating it with other strong brands in a sponsorship relation.

From Image point of view, success for IPL in a sports perspective is also important, since it strengthens the brand and makes them attractive for sponsors. Success from a sports perspective also leads to increased media coverage, which is important both for IPL and for the sponsors since it provides increased brand exposure.

In line with (Shanks 1999) objectives, IPL relates relationship marketing as an important objective. IPL treats its sponsors as business parteners and provides setting for interacting between different sponsoring companies as well.

Revenue or sales from the sponsoring is vital as an objective for IPL, since most of their annual turnover is derived from various sponsorship deals. To contradict Shank, IPL has no clear objective for sponsorship when it comes to generate awareness or to reach new target markets. Neither is sherry’s (1998) public relation objective of any importance for IPL.

5.2 RQ 2- Selection

As stated by brassington and Pettit (2000) in my conceptual frame work a sponsorship decision is based on the following factors: relevance, length of impact, uniqueness, spin off promotion and compability. For the selction of which type of sports entity, shank (1999) separated sport entities in athletes, team, leagues/sports and events

5.2.1 Sponsors: DLF, Hero Honda and Sony Entertainment

Sponsors of IPL got two main considerations in the selection process is that the sponsored sports entity should be in a sport of general public interest, which is coherent with what Brassington and Pettit (2000) states about relevance, and the long term impact. DLF, Hero Honda and Sony wants sign sponsorship deal over the course of three years at the time. The importance of the long term impact is also in accordance with brassington and Pettit.

The factor of uniqueness in the sponsorship and maybe being the sole sponsor is also of importance for the IPL sponsors, as it is for Brassington and Pettit. DLF also states that the image compatibility between the company and the sponsored sports entity is essential and it should be natural the encounter the company’s product in context of the sponsores sports entity. This is also in accordance with Brassington and Pettit Theory.

The principle on which DLF decides for which types of sports entity to sponsor, is in accordance with shank’s (1999) theory since DLF does not sponsor individual athletes, due to the risk of image problems to could occur from inappropriate behaviour from athlete.

5.2.2 Indian Premier League

The main consideration for IPL in the selection process is that the deals are done on a long term basis at least three years at a time. As IPL sees it the main reason for companies to sponsor them is because they want to strengthen their image and please their customers, supplier and employees. All this in line with Brassington-Pettit (2000)

In IPL they believe that having a sole title sponsor could both good and bad. To have one sole sponsor could close down possibilities for other who want to sponsor but it can also mean a long term security, which is in accordance with Brassington-Pettit. It is also of importance with the major sponsor that they share the same vision and strives towards the same goal, which is not an issue brought up in an theory.

It does not have to be an exact match between the sponsor and the audience but the sponsoring company cant be one that have a bad reputation or who are risk of getting bad publicity, which contradicts theory of Brassinton-Pettit. The location of the sponsored companies head office is not of great importance.

5.3 RQ 3- Effect Measuring

In the conceptual framework I have relied mainly on Meenaghan’s (1983) theory on how to measure the effectiveness of sport sponsorship. The theory consists of four methods. The four methods are measuring the sales effectiveness from the sponsorship. Furthermore I will support Meenaghan’s theory with the three step method of evaluation developed by Bennet in 1999. This method includes measuring the effectiveness regarding awareness and position with the desired target market before the sponsorship, detection of changes during the sponsorship and evaluation of the possible changes after the sponsorship.

5.3.1 DLF

DLF has not been able to detect direct impact of the sales increase because there are other factors such as the product characteristics and other parts of DLF marketing mix that influence the sales. Therefore they cannot measure the sales effectiveness from the sponsorship; however they believe that the success for the sponsored sports entity such as IPL will help them to strengthen their brand. To be able to measure the communication effectiveness from the sponsorship DLF is looking at the increase of advertising awareness. DLF also states that they are measuring the effectiveness of the media coverage as well as printed press.

In contradiction to Meenaghan (1983), DLF does not measure the effectiveness regarding the sponsorship objectives according to DLF. They can not detect if their exits a local loyalty towards their brand either, due to the same reasons as it cannot detect sales is dependent on the sponsorship.

DLF states that it is hard to be detect changes during the sponsorship, but to be able to do that DLF are evaluating their sponsorship agreements continuously and are also making a final evaluation in order to see if the sponsorship objectives have been reached.

5.3.2 Indian Premier League

In last three year IPL is been very successful and it’s been one of the hot topic in the sports industry now. According to the theory if IPL is successful during the season they can detect increased sales, which is considered to be new sales effectiveness of the sponsorship. Regarding the measurement of media coverage, IPL receive monthly statistics from Sony entertainment. Which is an important tool for them to measure the media coverage effectiveness from the sponsorship. When it comes to measure the communication effect, IPL are looking at how well the relationship between the organization and their sponsors are working this is made continuously throughout the season.

In contradiction to meenaghan, IPL cannot measure the effectiveness regarding the continuing appropriateness of the sponsorship over time. This is because it is too hard to measure according to IPL. However they believe that the sponsorship can derive a local loyalty towards a brand such as DLF.

6 Finding and Conclusions:

This chapter will present the research finding and will come to a conclusion

Research indicates that there exist several forms of objectives regarding sports sponsorship. My research shown that both of the entity is highly after image building and increasing its sales. Along with that relationship marketing, media coverage was an important issue for the both entity.

The sports entity in the case study, sees it as an important objective to create an environment for companies to strengthen and build relationship in the context of the sponsorship and from the sponsoring side, this opportunity of relationship marketing is an important sponsorship objective.

Increase of sales and increase of revenue is also important objective, which also ties in to sport success. The sports entity is likely to increase sponsorship revenue in case of success, which is an important source of income. A discrepancy is that the sponsoring company is trying to reach new target markets and increasing awareness as sponsorship objectives and the sports entity has not. The reason behind that could be that the sports entity doesnot have those objectives in a formal way, but they are still indirectly reaching new target markets and strengthen their awareness by being successful, which then could lead to even more lucrative sponsorship deals for them.

I have found that neither of the two companies is evaluating awareness and their target markets before entering a sponsorship relation. However both parts in the relationship are evaluating the relationship during the sponsorship agreement continuosly in both formal and informal was. The formal evaluation is statistics from changes in media coverage and advertising awareness. With informal means that both parties have more of a friendship relationship and if something is wrong they receive instant notice of it. However both parties evaluate the sponsorship agreement after finishing season to see if the sponsorship objectives have been reached.

Thus Following is concluded:

No evaluation plan exists to measure the effectiveness of the sport sponsorship relation. This should be important to develop for both parties since it should give more stabile measurement
Although long term commitment is an important slelction factor for both sponsorship sides, it could be quite risky for a sports entity to be too dependent on a single sponsor. However the sports entity in my study DLF managed quite well to balance the needs of their major sponsor DLF with their own needs for independence.

Reference:

Abrahamsson Jan-Tony, Forsgren and Lundrgen Hakan, (2003), “Sports Sponsorship as a Marketing Communication tool”, Depertment of Business administration and social science, Bechelor’s Thesis, Luleal University of Technology.

Cambell, S (2008), “India: Opportunities in the business of sports”, www.sportsbusiness.com, available at: http://www.sportbusiness.com/products/reports/india-opportunities-in-the-business-of-sport-167993, Last access date: 20th april 2011, Last updated: 2011.

Chakraborty, S (2010), @India sports sponsorship could be $4 bn by 2019”, www.vccircle.com, available at; http://www.vccircle.com/500/news/india-sports-sponsorship-market-could-be-4bn-by-2019, last access date: 26th april 2011, last update; april 2011.

Cornwell, T.B andMaignan, I,(1998), “An international Review of Sponsorship research”’ Journal of Advertising, Volume XXVII

Crowley, M.G, (1991), “Priortising the sponsorship audience”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol 25, Issue-11

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Hashmi. S. A, 2011, SWOT analysis Indian Premier league, Marketing and Selling, Available at; http://mgmt280.blogspot.com/2009/11/swot-analysis-indian-premier-league-ipl.html

Hindustan Times, 4th April 2008 IPL offers 12 cr prize money, winner to get 4.8 cr Available at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageStoryPage.aspx?sectionName=&id=f8528c81-67cb-4dae-91b3-51c7f7cadf5fIPL_Special&&IsCricket=true&Headline=IPL+offers+12+cr+prize+money

ICMR, (2003), “Sports Sponsorship-The cricket Ambush Marketing Controversy”, IBS centre for Management Research.

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Mukherjee. P, Business Standard, June 9, 2008, IPL boosts advertising, Available at : http://www.business-standard.com/india/storypage.php?autono=325502

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Free Essays

Research Methodology on Hospitality and Tourism

Introduction:

The main purpose of the research is to evaluate or create exiting understanding, review and investigate existing situation or problems, find out the appropriate solutions to the problems as well explain new idea and generate scope of further research. Research on the issues on tourism sector is to focus on problems of the specified sector and find out appropriate solution of research.

Tourism is now a global industry connecting hundred millions of people worldwide; which been recognised as a fastest rising sectors. These industries make it as a key column of economic development of any destination country. World travel and tourism council (WTTC) find out by their latest research in 2011 that from Travel & Tourism industry’s direct input to global GDP growing by 3.3%, to US$1,770 billion at the year 2010.

Running 2011, this upgrading is forecast to reinforce extra– by 4.5% to US$1,850 billion; where 3 million industry jobs will be created. As per research forecast by WTTC based on Bangladesh; where shows countries GDP is expected to be BDT184.4bn (2.3% of total GDP) in 2011, increasing 6.3% pa to BDT339.2bn (2.3%) in 2021 from the direct contribution of Travel &Tourism .

Royal Danish Embassy (2008) explain Bangladesh as a tourist destination of South Asian region, where the smallest number of tourist arrivals and most minuscule income earned from its travel and tourism sector. As well they identified tourism is one of the rapidly growing for Bangladesh, which can make significant contributions on its economy.

Bangladesh has some significant tourist attraction such as world largest unbroken sea beach Cox’s Bazar, leading world 7 wonder nominated mangrove forest Sundarban etc; but its fails to attract world tourist due to inadequate promotional actions which can bring brand country image on tourism.

(Hossain &Nazmin, 2006) explain that, Bangladesh holding enormous recourses to attract international tourists with affluent traditions, sunny beaches, archaeological attractions, cultural heritages, hills, mangrove forest, wild lives, tribal culture and architecture, colourful festivals etc.

The international media most often focused on countries ongoing political instability, which made huge negative country image as a tourist destination. Instead of political valances Bangladesh has incredible prospects on its tourism sector.

Due to political incidents tourism industry is seriously hampered. Master plan on future tourism in Bangladesh are not maintaining strictly. When the countries tourism got tourism friendly steady environment; the sector flourishes and at the same time increase arrivals.

There are major problems on tourism in Bangladesh and huge opportunities to ensure continued tourism. In this research, I am going to examine how tourism of Bangladesh will thrive in spite of identified problems.

Importance of the Research Topic:

Many countries in the world are dependents on tourism sector for earning of foreign currency. Where, every destination is trying to establish their country image to get more gain by rising tourism sector; Bangladesh is very slow to reach this goal.

In this research, we are going to examine the problems and significant prospects of tourism sector in Bangladesh. As a citizen of the said country; It is an opportunity for me to find out the key barriers of the development of tourism in Bangladesh. It is very important for my country to identify the reasons for downturn of our tourism sector; where neighbor countries tourism growth is highly appreciable.

(Akther , 2001) explain that, Bangladesh is beautiful and wealthy by its own natural attractiveness. Unluckily, the country are not steady to provide tourist friendly atmosphere. Lack of effectual initiatives, appropriate management plan; where countries political volatility is the main key barriers.

Bangladesh has incredible prospects on its tourism sector to make a positive destination image in international tourism. But, at present scenario of tourism in Bangladesh is facing a lot of major problems; where political unrest is the vital issue to make its poor image in international tourism. Lack of socio-political commitments the country still suffering after four decades of independences. Bangladesh has awesome tourism attractions to establish a branding country image in the international tourism industry; regrettably, countries political unrest badly affects its growth on tourism.

Unpleasant security and political disturbances within Bangladesh decrease both domestic and international tourists to explore the country. World tourists are feared to make their visit to a destination with political anxiety. Matter of regret that, even local tourist does not feel free to explore Bangladesh due to political uncertainty; where they found it much safe and secured to make an outbound trip to travel.

The prospects of tourism in Bangladesh are gravely troubled by a number of problems. In this study we are mostly focus on the key barriers of tourism sector in Bangladesh and examine which is the significant way to recover its beauty.

Here, the research findings will drastically expand the range of information on the topic of research and it would be the supplementary literature with the breathing academic literature. The finding of the research would be supportive to any of researcher to consider the more areas; which is not covered in this research.

Literature Review

‘’Tourism: A Community Approach’’; A publications by Murphy’s (1985) which directly focused the basic requirements for the destinations communities to make a bridge between the development of tourism relating to local demands. Afterward many studies developed on the diverse associations amid tourism destinations and its communities (Richards & Hall-2000).

Tourism can be seen financially viable action which produces a variety of positive as well negative impacts. This is identified by his earlier study on tourism Swarbrooke (1999). In order to develop a sustainable plan on tourism and its socio-economic, environmental as well socio-cultural aspects of tourism should be well tacit. The well planed balance among financial profit and social and ecological expenditure; these are key factor of sustainable tourism development.

The development of tourism depended on first-rate sustainable atmosphere. The future trends of tourism marketing should be emphasised on ecological reliability of socio-economic structure, natural resources and cultural heritages. Sustainable tourism will make a huge financial input to the destination and world economy Hassan (2000).

Sustainability is one of the vital concepts of tourism development. Richards & Hall (2000) identify the significance relations between the destinations community and sustainability. Local communities are the crucial motivation for tourists to travel by experiencing the different thought of life.

The development of tourist destinations widely depends on its social responsibilities, political stability and well planned tourism future goal. These things can bring huge socio-cultural reimbursement; upgrade living standards of communities and economic growth come from its superb tourism distribution. An alternative promising approach to avert those expansions is to encourage and spend in sustainable tourism. This is a concept of tourism that can defend socio-cultural and environment of tourist destination; which is called eco-tourism, Shaw & Williams (2004).

Safety and security reasons have changed the world travel & tourism environment. The terrorist attack at September 11, 2001 in USA makes devastating impacts on world tourism industry. Now days the management of destinations closely think and should make their future tourism plan including such solemn issues destination recovery, risk and crisis management.

As per crisis guideline of WTO for the tourism industry aware the tourist destinations that be organized before the emergency, minimise smash up during the disaster and recovering destination image and traveller confidence after the crisis. (WTO, 2003a)

The development of tourism industries depends on destinations calm tourist friendly environment. Beirman (2003) identified a few core reasons that makes destination crisis. 1. Countries long-standing internal political violence. 2. International war or clash. 3. Terrorist attack on tourist and destinations. 4. Major criminal act. 5. Natural disasters such as Strom or Volcano, Flood, Earthwork. 6. Health issues affecting tourist attractions

Lepp and Gibson (2003) find out four key risk factor is seriously harmful for the destination tourism growth. These are Political violence, crime, health concerns and terrorism. International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) identified global issues and challenges where upward worldwide uncertainty for safety and security got priority.

Tourism industry of any countries would be suffered due to crisis and especially political instability. Tourist never wants to travel certain place where several crisis going on. Country loosing economic growth from tourism as well creates a time long negative impact as a tourist destination. Ankomah and Crompton (1990) state that, any crisis or domestic turmoil makes the country as an unsafe tourist destination where the tourist not to visit that country.

While constraints on tourist movement the politics plays a vital role in the world tourism industry. Destinations positive political stability makes encouraging and involving nations. Political turmoil makes the destination unsafe and as a result imposing travel limits by others nations in that country.

The unintentional expansion of tourism’s has spoilt many of tourist destinations normal nature and socio cultural environment. Unwanted side-effects have lead to the rising alarm for the natural wealth, human interests and extended time economic feasibility of the destinations communities (Akis- Peristianis and Warner, 1996).

Bangladesh is a beautiful tourist destination and it holding potential prospects on tourism sector. The country has significant attraction to catch the attention of world tourism. But in term of world tourism the present condition of this country is not enough for tourism distributions; where the political violence’s is the core issue which seriously affects its tourism Islam and Islam (2006).

Pearson (2002) noted that without well planned risk or crisis management any tourist destination institute cannot escape from crisis. Organisation should take serious effort for its risk management. The way for the tourist destination to decrease crisis smash up to make effective preparation. Country should be taken towering concern for each business concerned in tourism industry.

Bangladesh has got the top ten ranked as the Best Value Destination in the world for 2011by world’s leading travel guidebooks’’ Lonely Planet’’; which is owned by BBC worldwide. Lonely Planet mentioned that if any world tourists choose Bangladesh will be rewarded most and get the maximum “value for his money”.

In the literature review, the distinguish authors has been well descried that the crisis or problems, how it affects countries tourism industry. Where, the following variables are extremely essential to improve tourism sector of the destinations: Safety and security, political instability, branding destination image and way of sustainable tourism.

Research Method:

In this section, we will talk about the methods, which will be used for this study. Research issues such as research design, sample, population, procedure of sampling, questionnaires and numerical examination are presented.

Research is an essential part of academics, “research is the systematic study of materials and sources etc. in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions” (Oxford Concise Dictionary). The process by which a research is written or carried out is very important because it has a huge impact on the conclusions reached at the end of the research. There are two major research philosophies which underpin the research strategy and the method that will be used to carry out a research (Collis and Hussey, 2009). They are the positivism and interpretive research paradigm.

Positivism involves “working with an observable social reality and that the end product of such research can be law-like generalisations similar to those produced by the physical and natural scientists”, the assumption is that “the researcher is independent of and neither affects nor is affected by the subject of the research” (Remeneyi et al, 1998:32). Interpretive is “a philosophical position which is concerned with understanding the way we as humans make sense of the world around us, the underlying assumption is that by placing people in their social context, there is greater opportunity to understand the perceptions they have of their own activities” (Hussey and Hussey, 1997).

Research Design:

In general, the methodology of research and term of research design are seems to signify the equal thing, but actually they are not same. Research design is “a plan or a blue print of how a researcher intends to conduct a study”. The actual significance of research design is to direct the way of data collection procedure and examine the data in order to response for recognized research problem(s); but, the research methodology is to illustrates how something would be done. Research methods are two forms quantitative and qualitative method. Use of countable data is Quantitative. On the other hand, use of non-countable data is qualitative.

In this research, we are using the combination of quantitative and qualitative data methods. Appropriate data collection for this research would be using a questionnaire which well structured open – ended questions. Data related to the previous exiting literature review of the research area were gathered from different secondary sources. Furthermore, Ghauri & Gronhaug (2005: p109) mention that, a quantitative research is more scientific than a qualitative research.

Below, the chart step shows the process of research.

Sampling methods and Size:

It is incumbent on the researcher to clearly define the target population. There are no strict rules to follow, and the researcher must rely on logic and judgment. The population is defined in keeping with the objectives of the study.

Sometimes, the entire population will be sufficiently small, and the researcher can include the entire population in the study. This type of research is called a census study because data is gathered on every member of the population. Usually, the population is too large for the researcher to attempt to survey all of its members. A small, but carefully chosen sample can be used to represent the population. The sample reflects the characteristics of the population from which it is drawn.Sampling methods are classified as either probability or non probability.

The significance of sample is ’’ A portion, piece, or segment of population that is representative of a whole”. For the quantitative research it is highly essential representative sample; where reflects the population completely so that conclusion can be done.

To envoy the whole population sample should be big enough. A small size of will be enough to represent a homogenous population; but, representation of a heterogeneous population requiredlarge sample size. On the basis of population types we need to be more cautious to selecting the sample size.

Data Collection:

The process of data collection is to collecting appropriate data about the research from particular population. There are various way of data collections method such as interviews, questionnaires, group interviews or conference and observation. Each of the individual’s methods has its own and sole features; some advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of questionnaire method is cost effectual, simple association and straightforward analysis predominantly in a quantitative research.

Qualitative Research:

The objective of the qualitative research is to gain qualitative understanding of the underlying reasons and motivations of the issue in hand. The procedures of qualitative research are classified either as direct or indirect, based on whether the true purpose of the research is known to the respondents.

A direct approach is not disguised. The purpose of the project is disclosed to the respondents or is otherwise obvious to them from the questions asked. Focus groups and in-depth interviews are the main direct techniques. An indirect approach disguises the true purpose of the research. Projective techniques, the commonly used indirect techniques, consist of association, completion, construction and expressive techniques.

Quantitative Research:

The quantitative primary data in descriptive research. Both these methods require some procedure for standardizing the data collection process so that the data obtained are internally consistent and can be analysed in a uniform and coherent manner. A standard questionnaire or form will ensure comparability of the data, increase speed and accuracy of recording and facilitate data processing. A questionnaire is a formalized set of questions for obtaining information from respondents. Any questionnaire has three specific objectives. (1) Developing questions that respondents can and will answer and that will yield the desired information is difficult. This objective is challenging. (2) A questionnaire must uplift, motivate and encourage the respondent to become more involved, to co-operate, and to complete the questionnaire. In designing the questionnaire, the researcher should strive to minimise respondent fatigue, boredom and effort to minimise incompleteness and non-response. (3) A questionnaire should minimise response error. Response error is defined as the error that arises when respondents give inaccurate answers or their answers are misreported or misanalyses.

Struwig & Stead (2001: p 89) stated that questions putted in questionnaires principally come through a review of literature on the area under discussion. On the other hand, Ghauri & Gronhaug (2005: p127) suggest that the questions and question design could be depends on researcher and that would be simplify for analysis purpose; such as open or closed ended, multiple choice, grading system or Likert scale format etc.

Questionnaire Design Process:

Step 01: Specify the information needed; once the research problem is well defined and the objectives of the research are well set, the information needed to serve reaching the objectives have to be specified. A clear idea of the target population is also essential, since, more diversified the respondent group; the more difficult is to design a single questionnaire appropriate for entire group.

Step 02: Specify the type of interviewing method; how the questionnaire is going to be administered influences the questionnaire design. If the respondents see the questionnaire and interact face to face with the interviewer, then lengthy, complex and varied questions can be asked. In telephone interview, the questions have to he short and simple. If the questionnaires are mailed to the respondents, the questions must be simple and detailed instructions must be provided.

Step 03: Determine the content of individual questions; Questionnaire should contribute to the information needed. If there is no satisfactory use for the data resulting from a question, that question should be eliminated. Once the researcher decides that a question is necessary, he or she must decide whether this question alone could fetch the required information or double barrelled questions are required to achieve the needed information.

Research Questions:

The research should be well organized to find out the appropriate data. In this research we have chosen the issues to tourist destinations tourism problems and prospects. Bangladesh tourism development and its barriers of the growth on tourism are our topics. On this study we will attempt to answer the following questions:

1.What are the major and key impacts of tourism in Bangladesh?

2. Which reasons behind the recognized problems?

3. To explore how tourism will thrive in spite of identified crisis.

Main objectives of the research:

Before doing a research it is highly masseur the excepted outcomes or objective of the research.The aim and objectives of the study are given below:

To examine the barriers of tourism growth in Bangladesh.
To investigate the possible ways of improvement of identified problems.
To find out the future development trends in Bangladesh tourism
Data Analysis:

The main objective of data analysis is to facts, identify patterns, build up explanations and test hypothesis. Various methods can be using for data analysis such as content analysis, thematic analysis, theoretical sampling, grounded theory etc. The aim of data analysis is to emphasize crucial information and advocate conclusions which help in result making processes.

Data analysis is a process that aims to describe facts, identify patterns, develop explanations and test hypothesis. All of these help to highlight vital information and recommend conclusions which help in decision making processes. Data can be analysed using various methods such as content analysis, theoretical sampling, thematic analysis, grounded theory etc. Bernard (1952) defined content analysis as “a research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of manifest content of communications”. Thematic analysis is an approach to dealing with data that involves the creation and application of ‘codes’ to data, there is a link between this method and the grounded theory method. Grounded theory was discovered by Glaser and Strauss (1967) as a method of analyzing data, it is a systematic analysis of data that aims to develop a higher level of understanding or generate theories regarding a social phenomenon.

Referencing Sources:

University students are expected to refer to the work of other authors to support the ideas. We need to mention whose work are using by citing it in the text of your assignment and also in a list at the end of your assignment.

References must be provided whenever someone else’s opinions, theories, data or organisation of material. You need to reference information from books, articles, videos, web sites, images, computers and any other sources. Harvard referencing style is now the most popular and standard for use in the University research. Reading lists in course handbooks should follow this style of referencing.

The Harvard system has increased in popularity over the years and has the advantage of being flexible, clear and easy to use without the need for footnotes and chapter references as used in other systems.

The importance of the referencing system is to acknowledge the work of other authors/writers. To exhibit the body of knowledge on which you have based your work and enable other readers to trace your sources and lead them on to further information.

During my research works, I need many references and it is essential that to record as much detail as possible and be sure the information is exact. This will save you time later when re-tracing references or when you need to incorporate a reference into the bibliography. Proper referencing will enable the reader to do their further study on different related issues.

Conclusion:

This research study will draw attention to the core problems and investigate key reasons for downwards trends of tourism industry in Bangladesh. In spite of the recognized problems how tourism will flourish towards its development. In the literature review we have got a clear scenario of the problems of tourism sector in Bangladesh as well we focused a few noteworthy attractions prospects to utilize and develop the future trends of tourism. In this case work, we find how the political influences effect the destination tourism growths. Without calm and tourist friendly environment none of the tourist destination in the world can expand their tourism sectors. We can take learning from a few Asian tourists destinations that are enormously affected by their internal political chaos and how it destroyed their tourism prospects and as well how the destination recovered their destination image in the international tourism. The government of Bangladesh should take necessary initiative; where collaborations with the opposition political parties are highly required. To make an sustainable master plan to develop tourism sector of Bangladesh; where political stability is the main and key tools of its success. Bangladesh has holding a huge international attraction as well prospects on its tourism sector to contribute countries economy.

References:

Akis, S., Peristianis, N., & Warner, J., 1996. Residents’ attitudes to tourism development: Thecase of Cyprus. Tourism Management, 17, p. 481-494.

Akhter, Shelina (2001): “Tourism in Bangladesh: An Evaluation”, Journal of

Bangladesh Asiatic Society Bangladesh, December, 2001.

Ankomah, P., & Crompton, J. (1990) Unrealised tourism Potential the case of

sub-Saharan Africa. Tourism Management.

Beirman, D., 2003, Restoring Tourism Destination in Crisis: A Strategic Management Approach, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, Australia. Ghauri, P. & Gronhaug, K. 2005. Research methods in Business studies. Dorset:Prentice Hall.

Hossain, M. A. and Nazmin, S., (2006) “Development of Tourism Industry in

Bangladesh- an empirical study on its problems and prospects” Centre for Tourism

and Hotel management Research, Ga-1, Rashedul Hasan Bhaban, University of

Dhaka, and Dhaka

Lepp, A., and H. Gibson, “Tourist Roles, Perceived Risk and International Tourism”, Annals of Tourism Research,30(3),606–624

Islam, Faridul and Islam, Nazrul(2006).”Tourism in Bangladesh: An Analysis of Foreign Tourist arrivals”, http://stad.adu.edu.tr/TURKCE/makaleler/stadbah2004/makale040103.asp

Struwig, F. W. & Stead, G. B. 2001. Planning, designing & reporting research.Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/bangladesh/travel-tips-and-articles/76216

Sausmarez N., 2007, “Crisis Management, Tourism and Sustainability: The Role of Indicators”, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 5(6),700-714.

S. F. Sonmez, “Tourism, terrorism, and political instability” Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 25, pp. 416-456, 1998.

S. F. Sonmez, S.J. Backman, and L.R. Andallen, Managing Tourism Crises, Clemson University, London, Sage, 1994.

Vassiliadis, Christos, 1996, “The Geek Tourism Marketing Policy to Foreign Countries through the scope to attract foreign visitors; Model of investigation: the Northern Greece destination”, (in Greek) Dissertation, University of Macedonia-Library, Thesssaloniki, Greece,p.165.

W.J.Cook, “The Effect of Terrorism on Executives ‘ Willingness to Travel Internationally,” The City University of New York Unpublished doctoral dissertation 1990.

World Tourism Organization, Handbook on Natural Disaster Reduction in Tourist Areas, Madrid: WTO. 1998.

The Daily Star, Dhaka, Available: http://www1.voanews.com/policy/editorials/a-41-2006-07-10-voa5- 83108392, Sep.

http://www.thedailystar.net/forum/2007/november/tourism.htm

http://www.parjatan.gov.bd/function_nto.php

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=136220

http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc_cricket_worldcup2011/content/story/501499.html

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Is midlife the prime of life or time of crisis? Asses these claims with reference to theory and research.

Introduction

This essay will explore the following aims; it will determine what is meant by midlife; identify some of the issues associated with the concept of midlife, evaluating evidence for and against some of the claims associated with this concept and finally it aims to identify some of the common difficulties of midlife.

Midlife is seen to be one of complexity with the ‘juxtaposition of peaks and valleys across the social, psychological and physical domains’ (Lachman, 2004). With the transition in to midlife come physical ailments, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and although these can be treated with medications, they do trigger distress as they signal ageing which is neither desirable nor valued in our culture. This can be seen to contribute to the concept of the ‘Midlife Crisis’. However, the psychological and social changes experienced in midlife are usually associated with positive changes. These may include increased wisdom and practical intelligence (Baltes et al., 1999), better emotional regulation (Magai & Halpern, 2001) or a strong sense of mastery (Lachman & Bertrand, 2001). This adds to the debate of whether midlife is the prime of life or the time of crisis?

One of the most common expectations of midlife is that there is a crisis. Rosenberg et al. (1999) identified the characteristics of a midlife crisis. These include the following; midlife only applies to males, it involves dramatic personality changes and life review, an increased introspection, a realisation of time passing and finally the mourning of lost opportunities. Similarly, recent research shows that major life events such as divorce or illnesses are the most common sources of crises, although these are not necessarily associated only with the midlife period (Lachman et al. 1994, Wethington et al. 2004). It has also been found that one third of the time a midlife crisis is described by events such as job loss, financial problems, or illness (Lachman & Bertrand 2001, Wethington et al. 2004), which supports Rosenberg’s characteristic of the mourning of lost opportunities. However, although events such as job loss, divorce and illnesses can occur at any time in adulthood, these events seem to be more prominent during the midlife period as maybe the midlife crisis is driven by a fear of impending death according to Jacques (1965). On the other hand, another explanation for adults experiencing a midlife crisis may be down to personality, which has been identified as a key factor predisposing some to experience crises at transition points throughout the life course. It has been found that individuals who are more neurotic are more likely to have a midlife crisis (Costa & McCrae 1980, Lachman & Bertrand 2001, Whitbourne & Connolly 1999).

Furthermore, turning points have been found to contribute or trigger a midlife crisis. Turning points are significant changes in the trajectory of life or an experience or realization that causes someone to reinterpret the past, similar to a midlife crisis (Clausen 1998, Rosenberg et al. 1999). Wethington et al. (2004) examined in what areas of life turning points occurred and whether they clustered in midlife. The most common turning points involved the work domain, usually a change in job or career. They were most likely to occur at midlife for men but earlier for women (Clausen 1990, Moen & Wethington 1999). Wethington et al (2004) claimed that entering the thirties may be more disruptive than turning 40. This seems to be consistent with the idea that a “quarter-life crisis,” can occur for those in their mid-twenties and early thirties as they struggle to find satisfaction in work and meaningful relationships (Robbins & Wilner 2001). Furthermore, the conceptual frameworks of midlife are based on Jung’s theory (Lachman & James, 1997). According to Jung (1971), the individuation process is a major goal of midlife. Individuation is the balancing of all aspects of the inner self. Jung (1971) stated that midlife must be approached with a different set of goals than earlier adulthood and the failure to deal with the psychological and physical changes in middle age could lead to difficulties and then to a midlife crisis.

Furthermore, it has been claimed that from a lifespan perspective, the dynamic nature of changes in the middle years can be represented as both gains and losses (Baltes 1987, Eichorn et al. 1981). The midlife experience is determined both biological factors, such as menopause for women or chronic illnesses for both males and females and it is also determined by cultural influences. Although midlife does not exist as a concept in all cultures (Shweder 1998). When life events such as divorce or chronic illnesses are experienced, the middle life adults are faced with finding ways to cope or compensate for the losses. The middle-aged adult may be frequently forced to balance the negative and positive aspects of relationships and other aspects of life. Although this may lead to increased stress, it may also serve as a training ground for emotion regulation in later life (Magai & Halpern 2001). This can be seen as a turning point in middle life and not a midlife crisis.

Furthermore, Neugarten & Datan (1974) found evidence that supports the notion that midlife is the prime of life. They found that midlife was a time of peak functioning in psychosocial competence. Other evidence suggesting that midlife is the prime of life come from key longitudinal studies on cognitive functioning, which have found that cognitive functioning are maintained or even improved in midlife (Eichorn et al. 1981, Hultsch et al. 1998, Schaie 1996). These include the pragmatic aspects of functioning, such as tacit knowledge (Baltes et al. 1999, Sternberg et al. 2001), that depend on experience. Although some aspects of cognitive functioning may show declines, the middle-aged adult typically has the resources and experiences to compensate for them (Miller & Lachman 2000). Furthermore, personality is prominent in deciding whether midlife is the prime of life. It has been found that the self plays a vital role in midlife as it serves as a resource for negotiating the physical changes and social stresses that may arise. According to Lachman & Firth (2004) no one is immune to the complexities of midlife, yet those who feel a sense of mastery and control are better able to meet the challenges head on and find effective strategies for reducing or dealing with stress.

Moreover, social relationships have been found to influence whether midlife is the prime of life or a time of crisis. Markus et al. (2004) states that positive relations with others, such as parents, spouse and offspring is the one major component of well-being at midlife. Social relations bring a major source of satisfaction and contribute to wellbeing and health in midlife, but also can be a source of stress (Rook 2003, Walen & Lachman 2000). Furthermore, the role of work is seen to be central during the middle years (Sterns & Huyck, 2001). An individual is seen to be defined by their work so a large part of their identity lies in their career. It has been found that cognitive capacity and intellectual flexibility can be affected by an individual’s work (Kohn & Schooler, 1978). The progression of career trajectories during midlife is diverse (Barnett 1997). Therefore, many individuals may have stable careers, whilst others may not and there is a higher chance of midlife adults may find it very difficult to find a job due to many factors such as skill and pay demands. Furthermore, health and physical changes can also influence whether midlife is a crisis or the prime of life. One of the major issues in midlife is that of reproduction, especially menopause for women. The median age of the last menstrual period is typically 50–52 years, although there is wide variation in the menopause experience (Avis 1999, Rossi 2004). Avis (1999) found that there is no evidence for a universal experience of distress associated with menopause. Research shows that the transition in to menopause is somewhat exaggerated as according to Avis (1999) it is possible that the association noted between depression and menopause is based on clinic/patient populations who self-select into treatment.

The claims about whether midlife is the prime of life or a time of crisis are quite unclear. The majority of people tend to free associate the word ‘crisis’ to the word ‘midlife’. This reflects a widespread cultural stereotype about the midlife period but not an accurate portrayal, as only a small percentage seems to experience a midlife crisis (Wethington et al. 2004). However, middle age is also associated with positive descriptors such as competent, responsible, knowledgeable, and powerful (Lachman et al. 1994). Therefore, although midlife is referred to as a crisis, it is also described as an age period with desirable characteristics. There is some empirical support for both of these views, as those in midlife may experience turbulence as well as success (Eichornet al. 1981). Midlife seems to be unique to every individual during the transition from adulthood to midlife.

References
Avis N.E. (1999). ‘Women’s health at midlife’. Cited in Willis S.L, Reid J.D, eds. (1999). ‘Life in the Middle: Psychological and Social Development in Middle Age’. San Diego: Academic. Pp. 105-47.
Baltes P.B. (1987). ‘Theoretical propositions of life-span developmental psychology: on the dynamics between growth and decline’. Dev. Psychol. Vol: 23; pp. 611–26.
Baltes P.B., Staudinger U.M. & Lindenberger U. (1999). ‘Lifespan psychology: theory and application to intellectual functioning’. Annu. Rev. Psychol. Vol: 50; pp. 471–507.
Barnett R.C. (1997). ‘Gender, employment, and psychological well-being: historical and life course perspectives’. Cited in Lachman M.E & James J.B eds. (1997). ‘Multiple Paths of Midlife Development’. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press pp. 325–43.
Clausen J. (1990). ‘Turning Point as a Life Course Concept’. Presented at Annu. Meet. Am. Sociol. Assoc., Washington, DC.
Clausen J. (1998). ‘Life reviews and life stories. In Methods of Life Course Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches’, ed. J.Z Giele, G.H Elder. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. pp. 189–212.
Costa P.T & McCrae R.R. (1980). ‘Still stable after all these years: personality as a key to some issues in adulthood and old age’. In Life-span Development and Behaviour, ed. Baltes, P.B & Brim, O.G. New York: Academic. pp. 65–102.
Eichorn D.H, Clausen J.A, Haan N, Honzik M.P & Mussen P.H, eds. (1981). ‘Present and Past in Midlife’. New York: Academic.
Hultsch D.F, Hertzog C. & Dixon R.A, eds. (1998). ‘Memory Change in the Aged’. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Jacques E. (1965). ‘Death and the mid-life crisis’. Int. J. Psychoanal. Vol: 46; pp. 502–14.
Jung C.G. ed. (1971). ‘The Portable Jung’. New York: Viking.
Kohn M.L & Schooler C. (1978). ‘The reciprocal effects of the substantive complexity of work and intellectual flexibility: a longitudinal assessment’. Am. J. Sociol. Vol: 84; pp. 24–52.
Lachman M.E, Lewkowicz C, Marcus A & Peng Y. (1994). ‘Images of midlife development among young, middle-aged, and older adults’.

J. Adult Dev. Vol: 1; pp. 201–11.

Lachman M.E & James J.B, eds. (1997). ‘Multiple Paths of Midlife Development’. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press.
Lachman M.E & Bertrand R.M. (2001). ‘Personality and the self in midlife’. Cited in Lachman M.E, ed. (2001). ‘Handbook of Midlife Development’. New York: Wiley. Pp. 279–309.
Lachman M.E & Firth K. (2004). ‘The adaptive value of feeling in control during midlife’. In Brim O.G, Ryff C.D & Kessler R, eds. (2004). ‘How Healthy Are We: A National Study of Wellbeing in Midlife’. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press. pp. 320–49.
Lachman, M.E. (2004). ‘Development in Midlife.’ Annu. Rev. Psychol. Vol: 55; pp. 305–31.
Magai C. & Halpern B. (2001). ‘Emotional development during the middle years’. In Lachman M.E, ed. (2001). ‘Handbook of Midlife Development’. New York: Wiley. Pp. 310–44.
Markus H.R, Ryff C.D, Curhan K. & Palmersheim K. (2004). ‘In their own words: well-being at midlife among high school and college educated adults’. In Brim O.G, Ryff C.D & Kessler R, eds. (2004). ‘How Healthy Are We: A National Study of Wellbeing in Midlife’. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press. pp. 273–319.
Miller L.S. & Lachman M.E. (2000). ‘Cognitive performance and the role of health and control beliefs in midlife’. Aging Neuropsychol. Cogn. Vol: 7; pp. 69–85.
Moen P. & Wethington E. (1999). ‘Midlife development in a course context’. In Willis S.L. & Reid J.D, eds. (1999). ‘Life in the Middle: Psychological and Social Development in Middle Age’. San Diego: Academic. Pp. 3-23.
Neugarten B.L. & Datan N. (1974). ‘The middle years. In The Foundations of Psychiatry’, ed. S Arieti. New York: Basic Books. pp. 592–608.
Robbins A. & Wilner A. eds. (2001). ‘Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties’. New York: Putnam.
Rook K.S. (2003). ‘Exposure and reactivity to negative social exchanges: a preliminary investigation using daily diary data’. J. Gerontol. B. Vol: 58; pp. 100–11.
Rosenberg S.D, Rosenberg H.J. & Farrell M.P. (1999). ‘The midlife crisis revisited’. In Willis S.L. & Reid J.D, eds. (1999). ‘Life in the Middle: Psychological and Social Development in Middle Age’. San Diego: Academic. Pp. 47-73.
Rossi A.S. (2004). ‘The menopausal transition and aging processes’. In In Brim O.G, Ryff C.D & Kessler R, eds. (2004). ‘How Healthy Are We: A National Study of Wellbeing in Midlife’. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press. pp. 550–75.
Schaie K.W, ed. (1996). ‘Intellectual Development in Adulthood’. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Shweder R. ed. (1998). ‘Welcome to Middle Age! And Other Cultural Fictions’. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press.
Sternberg R.J. & Grigorenko E.L. & Oh S. (2001). In Lachman M.E, ed. (2001). ‘Handbook of Midlife Development’. New York: Wiley. Pp. 217–47.
Sterns H.L. & Huyck M.H. (2001). ‘The role of work in midlife’. In Lachman M.E, ed. (2001). ‘Handbook of Midlife Development’. New York: Wiley. Pp. 447–86
Walen H.R. & Lachman M.E. (2000). ‘Social support and strain from partner, family, and friends: costs and benefits for men and women in adulthood’. J. Soc. Personal Relat. Vol: 17; pp. 5–30.
Wethington E, Kessler R, & Pixley J. (2004). ‘Turning points in adulthood’. In In Brim O.G, Ryff C.D & Kessler R, eds. (2004). ‘How Healthy Are We: A National Study of Wellbeing in Midlife’. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press. pp. 586–613.
Whitbourne S.K. & Connolly L.A. (1999). ‘The developing self in midlife’. In In Willis S.L. & Reid J.D, eds. (1999). ‘Life in the Middle: Psychological and Social Development in Middle Age’. San Diego: Academic. Pp. 25–46.

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Primary or Secondary Research

Should I use Primary or Secondary Research in my Dissertation?
our site – CUSTOM ASSIGNMENT WRITING – DISSERTATION EXAMPLES

So, you are starting to think about your dissertation, and you’ve grasped the basics including the difference between primary and secondary research. However, understanding what the differences are won’t necessarily help you to decide whether you should go for a secondary-data based, literature-review style dissertation, or get to grips with primary research. This guide is designed to help you decide what’s best for you.

Overview of the Differences

Just to remind you, there are clear differences between primary and secondary research. Primary research means research which is carried out for the purposes of your study. Secondary research is information that already exists. Many people chose to do an extended literature review, and this is the main type of secondary study. Secondary data can include journal articles, textbooks, online sources, company and industry data and other types of information. However, you might also decide to carry out new analysis on existing data, for example SPSS analysis on a large dataset collected by other researchers. This is another form of secondary research.

Primary or Secondary Research: How to Decide

Your tutor, professors or department might have a preference for the type of dissertation you do. In some subjects you might be strongly advised to do a primary study; in others it might not be practical (English language or Philosophy, for example).
To some extent, whether you chose primary or secondary research will also depend on your research question. If the area is under-investigated, adding to the body of existing information by a small-scale study might make sense.
Also listen to what your tutor suggests. He or she might feel that a primary study would be worthwhile.
You might feel negatively about primary research, imagining that it will involve more work, or be more difficult, but you can access a great deal of help along the way, either from your tutor or online, and the experience will be valuable for you in your future career.
If you are particularly interested in exploring theory you might want to consider secondary research . You might feel strongly that one or other model is better than another, feel that a new model needs to be developed, or want to review a large amount of existing research in the field. You might want to look at the usefulness of existing theories for understanding particular circumstances or behaviour patterns, for instance, or review the existing studies in a particular field.
It is easy to assume that secondary research studies are easier, but this is not the case. You will need to evaluate the importance of the material you look at, compare and contrast the theories put forward, arrange the material in a logical way, and critique and analyse it in much more detail.
If you decide to do a primary research study, you will also need to decide whether to collect qualitative or quantitative data. You might also decide to use a mixture of both types of data. Qualitative studies are useful for finding out why people behave as they do, what they think about issues, and how they feel in depth and emotionally. Quantitative studies are appropriate to questions of number, amount, and for dealing with measurable phenomena.

Bibliography

PlymouthUniversity (2013) ‘Writing a Dissertation’ [online] (cited 4th March 2013) available from

http://www.learningdevelopment.plymouth.ac.uk/LDstudyguides%5Cpdf/Writingadissertation.pdf

University of Birmingham (2013) ‘Research Methodologies’ [online] (cited 4th March 2013) available from

http://www.socscidiss.bham.ac.uk/methodologies.html

University of Reading ‘Researching your Dissertation’, [online] (cited 4th March 2013) available from http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/studyadvice/Studyresources/Essays/sta-researchingdissertation.aspx

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How to Continue your Research with a PhD?

So, you’ve handed in your dissertation, and all has gone well. You’re on track to get a good grade, and are interested in taking things further. This guide looks at how to continue your research with a PhD, from deciding whether a PhD is really right for you to the process of applying to start one.

Is a PhD right for you?

You need to be very certain that doing a PhD is the right step for you to take, as the road is long and arduous, and often lonely.
Be very honest about your motivations. Ask yourself: what am I hoping to get from doing a PhDAre there other options which are possible for meAm I really sure what doing a PhD will involveAm I thinking about this because I don’t want to do something else (for example, not wanting to get a job, or not sure what career path to take).
Talk to other people who have done, or who are doing, a PhD. What are the negatives, the positivesAre there any things they didn’t expect
Remember the time frames: a typical PhD in the UK takes 3-4 years full time, 5-7 years part time.
You need to be very motivated and able to work under your own direction. You also need to be really interested in the area you plan to research. If you enjoyed the element of independent research during your dissertation, you might well be right for a PhD
If you want to go into academia you will probably need a PhD.

What Skills do I need to do a PhD?

To a large extent, the skills you need for doing a PhD are the skills you needed to complete your dissertation. But make sure you are adept at the following:

Critical thinking – the ability to analyse and critique the evidence. It’s no longer enough to describe and organise.
Communication, presentation and writing – you will be spending a lot of time preparing information for other people. By the end of your PhD you will be able to produce work of a publishable quality, and communicate with different audiences (primarily in writing, but also in person)
Planning and management – conducting your research is rather like managing a small office. You need to know how to plan, how to delegate, how to deal with people. You need to be able to plan and manage both at the micro and the macro level.
Networking – although much of the time you spend writing your PhD will be time spent alone, you also need to get on well with people in order to get feedback, make contacts, initiate new projects.
Initiative – you need to be able to think for yourself

How to Apply for a PhD

Unlike applying for an undergraduate course, there is no single application point for PhDs. Rather you need to apply directly to the university you are interested in
It pays to do your research at this stage – don’t assume that you should stay at the university you did your master’s degree at.
You should consider narrowing down your search to a few universities who do work in your area of interest, and then ask to visit to discuss your ideas with them.
You can find a lot of useful information on university websites regarding staff interests.

Funding your PhD

You do need to consider the financial aspect. While funding exists for PhDs, many research students are self-funded. In this case, unless you are independently wealthy, part-time study might be the best option for you.
You will also find funding opportunities advertised online on university websites, as well as in specialist publications.
Some advertised PhD studentships come with funding, so if you succeed in your application to such a studentship (and if you are eligible) you will also get funding

Bibliography

Prospects.ac.uk (2013) ‘Postgraduate qualifications: PhDs’, [online] (cited 5th March 2013) available from

http://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate_qualifications_doctorates.htm

University of Bristol (2013) ‘Aims, Objectives and Guidelines for PhD students’, [online] (cited 5th March 2013) available from http://www.cs.bris.ac.uk/Teaching/learning/phd-guidelines.html

University of Edinburgh (2013) ‘Moving on to a PhD’, [online] (cited 5th March 2013) available from

http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/careers/postgrad/research-masters/moving-onto-phd

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How to Write a Research Essay

This guide looks at writing a research essay. We also have other useful guides to different sorts of essays including persuasive essays and critical essays, so take a look at these as well. Obviously, research essays have a lot in common with the other forms of essays: the language should be academic, and they should be clearly structured with an introduction, main body and conclusion. Refer to our guide ‘what is an essay’ for more details. This guide will focus on what is unique about a research essay.

The Purpose of a Research Essay

In order to understand how to write a research essay, it is necessary to understand what it is, so you can focus upon what you are asked to do.
A research essay is primarily concerned to give an informed overview of a particular topic, based on the most appropriate research in the field. Depending on the subject, the research may also need to be recent.
In some cases, a research essay also needs to analyse or critique a perspective, or argue for a particular point of view.
All research essays should present a full survey of a particular field of knowledge.
Research essays, or papers, are associated particularly with PhDs.

Getting Started

Make sure you thoroughly understand what you are asked to do, read the title (if there is one) and also any documents your tutor has given you with further guidelines. Are you being asked to do a report on a particular topic, analyse an issue, or something else
Plan a schedule of work (what you are going to do, and by when) and set deadlines for yourself in order to meet the final deadline set by your department.
Use the course textbooks, reading materials and reading lists as a starting point. Expand outwards and carry out keyword searches in relevant electronic databases. Use bibliographies and reference lists for more ideas.
Keep a note of questions and ideas as you go along.

Working on your Essay

Continue to make notes as you research. Consider using a table to collate information. Don’t forget to include full details of the paper or textbook – you’ll need these for the reference list. Note the page number of any quotations you use
It’s often a good idea to brainstorm with others: your tutor, your fellow students, or even friends outside your course. Different people bring new perspectives.
Make sure you are working to schedule. If there’s a problem and you are finding it hard to progress as you need to, consider seeking advice from your tutor. You might be being unreasonable about how long stages should really take, or using inappropriate research strategies.
As you research, move from a broad focus to a narrow one. Initially look for overviews of the topic using a range of tools from key word searches of internet databases to hand searching journals.
While giving a broad overview, and covering different perspectives, don’t lose track of what interests you about the topic.
As you learn more about the subject, continuing to make notes, develop a particular focus to shape your essay.

Writing Up your Ideas

Organization is key. You should by now have an extensive collection of well-organised notes. Start organising the collection in terms of common themes or sub-topics. This stage may well reveal gaps in your research which you can now address.
You should now be breaking down the information into its parts, and showing how they relate to each other, looking at different aspects of the topic and relating them together.
You could compare and contrast, bring out advantages and disadvantages, show the logic of cause and effect, develop the implications of a particular premise
Now is also the stage to remove irrelevant information
Make sure your writing style is appropriate for an academic audience.
Your tutor might suggest a model structure, otherwise you might use an outline similar to this:
Introduction (problem statement, outline of area, what will be covered)
Main body I (overview of area)
Main body II (main theoretical perspectives)
Main body III (practical perspectives / current implications of topic)
Main body IV (the future, suggestions, reflections)
Conclusion (summary of essay, suggestions for future research / practice)

And Finally…

Consider having other people read through your essay and critique it. Even if you disagree with their comments, the new perspective is useful.
Read through your essay yourself to check it makes sense; look for grammatical and spelling errors. It’s easier to do this if you print a copy out rather than reading it again on screen.
Double check your references and citations. Make sure you use the recommended format.

Bibliography

State University of New York (2013) ‘What is a Research Paper?’ [online] (cited 13th February 2013) available from

http://www.esc.edu/online-writing-center/resources/research/research-paper/

University of Leicester (2013) Writing Guide 2: Writing a Research Paper

[online] (cited 13th February 2013) available from

http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/law/current/writing-guide/Writing_Guide_Research_Paper_2009.pdf

Schwartz, K L (1997) ‘Step by Step Research and Writing’, [online] (cited 12th February 2013) available from

http://www.cs.nott.ac.uk/~gzt/tips/step_by_step_research_and_writing.pdf

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Relationship between the research process and evidence based practice

The aim of this essay is to explore the relationship between the research process and evidence based practice. The author of this essay intends to explore and illustrate an understanding of the various types of evidence used within nursing practice. There are barriers to implementing research into practice, the author intends to give explanation to these barriers and detail strategies/organisations that assist to putting research into nurse’s everyday practice. Two journal articles will be critiqued within this essay; the aim of this is to indicate which evidence has been used, to assess the strengths and weaknesses in the research process and to evaluate its usefulness in practice.

Principles of Evidence Based Practice

Research can be described as a method of investigating a chosen area to illicit new information on the topic or to build on previous knowledge. In nursing research the aim of this research is to provide clients, their carers and their families with the best possible care in all aspects of their treatment to promote wellbeing (Burns and Grove 2001).

“The conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external evidence from systematic research.” (Sackett et al 1996;72)

Nurses are at the frontline of healthcare and have most one to one contact time with clients; therefore it is essential that the foundation of their practice be formed from reliable evidence (Parahoo 2006). Evidence based practice sets out to integrate the best possible evidence, nursing knowledge and patient views into practice. It is vital that nursing staff be knowledgeable of the latest findings in nursing research and are able to access and opt for the most suitable evidence to inform and implement into their practice. (Gerrish 2006) suggest that evidence based practice consists of research, patient experience and clinical expertise.

It is important to address which research findings nurses should consult to inform their clinical practice in order for them to deliver adequate care to their patients. There are many different types of evidence available to practitioners; Gray Muir (1997) as cited in Gerrish (2006) outlines a hierarchy of evidence and indicates which types are more superior. Placed at the top of the hierarchy are systematic reviews and multiple randomised controlled trials (RCTs). A systematic review is essentially a study done on prior research; this is then deemed as secondary research (Parahoo 2006). The aim of this type of review is to carry out an extensive and thorough search of material already available on this topic. The most fitting material in relation to the topic is chosen, this is then evaluated, the findings are then collaborated and summarised to answer the original question. This process should be performed in a clear manner so that it would be possible for others to carry out this research. In second place on the hierarchy is randomised controlled trials, third; non-randomised controlled trials, fourth; non-experimental studies and fifth; descriptive studies/expert committees. This hierarchy is more suited to quantitative research and is deemed inappropriate if outcomes are not measurable (Gerrish 2006).

There are many organisations that provide information on research and guidance to how it should be implemented into clinical practice. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) offer clinicians guidelines and criteria to follow with the aim of developing nursing care to the benefit of the clients health (NICE). The Cochrane Collaboration supply research material which is available to everyone. Their aim as an organisation is to provide health care workers, clients and their carers with information on the most current and reliable evidence used within health care settings.

There are several different barriers to implementing evidence into clinical practice; Gerrish (2006) suggests that these barriers can be set into four categories; the nature of the evidence, communication of the evidence, knowledge and skill of the nurse and organisational barriers. Barriers with regard to the nature of the evidence may include research questions unsuitable to clinical practice. In relation to communication of evidence the language used in the research may be deemed as inaccessible due to complex terminology. It has been identified that barriers concerning the nurses skill include troubles identifying or appraising evidence and also lack of confidence of the individual in using resources to access the research. Organisational barriers seem to indicate that lack of support from senior staff in providing information and time to implement changes are the main cause for concern.

Parahoo (2006) suggests that there are four main components in the research process. Identification and formulation of the research question is the first stage in the process, this is where the researcher determines what is being researched and a question is created. Previous literature researched in the chosen field may be consulted by the researcher to help define concepts. The final question must be clearly set out. The second stage of the process is the collection of data, in this part of the process several decisions will have to be made before data is collected. The design of the study, methods used within it and sometimes piloting need to be decided upon. The population that will be participating needs to be defined at this point consent may need to be sought from ethical committees. Once these arrangements are in place the data can be collected. The third stage in this process is the analysis of data, at this stage the researcher would analyse, translate and display their findings. It is important to note that before the data was collected the researcher would have decided on how the analysis would be conducted. After analysis the researcher would typically translate findings, examine the limitations and make suggestion as to how to implement into practice. Recommendations may be made for additional research needed. The final stage in research process is the dissemination of findings. An organisation that might be responsible for this area would be NICE, the barriers to the implementation of evidence are outlined above.

There are many ethical issues involved in the research process; the author of this essay intends to discuss some of these implications. Beneficence is an important ethical issue, it is essential that the study should be of the benefit of its participants and in the best interests of the overall public. Confidentiality is another ethical issue within the research process, any information gathered should be respected. Consultation to the participant’s wishes should be sought throughout the process and care must be taken by the researcher when publishing results so not to unintentionally expose the identity or information of its participants.

Conclusion

The author of this essay has explored the relationship between evidence and the clinical setting. Research, evidence based practice and the research process was considered. Barriers to implementing evidence based practice and the strategies/organisations used to avoid these barriers were discussed. Critiques of two research articles are included in this essay; these critiques aim to illustrate the author’s understanding of the research process and knowledge of the various types of research and the methods used.

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Research Proposal On Social/Psychological Implications Of Genocide On Women

INTRODUCTION

Genocide remains at its core an act that has plagued human beings for many centuries. It simply refers to the intentional destruction of a group of individuals such that the death toll almost defies belief (Prunier 1997). For example, the genocidal regimes in the 20th century alone resulted in the annihilation of sixty million people (Kuper 1981). Among the most notorious was the Nazi Germany where tens of millions who were characterized as “savage” indigenous people were annihilated in the name of “progress”(Kuper 1981).
Genocide however remains a difficult event to analyze since it represents the most horrible of deeds. How can we comprehend such levels of atrocitiesIt has also been argued that an analytical explanation of genocide especially by those who did not experience it is a futile exercise, one that falls short in its task of elucidation (Jongman 1996). Nevertheless, finding an explanation to the causes of such atrocities are prerequisites to restoring social order. While remaining sensitive to the victims of genocide, many scholars believe that such atrocities are a result of human behaviour, albeit an extreme one (Halpern & Kideckel 2000).

RATIONALE OF THE STUDY

While genocide has been given vast and lengthy coverage in other disciplines, the relatively lack of research on genocide within the field of anthropology is surprising. For example, until the mid – 1980s, anthropologists have remained silent with regards to the Holocaust (Hinton 2002). Also there are very few anthropological articles exploring the Armenian genocide. This raises a fundamental question. Why have anthropologists failed to engage with the genocide topic more critically?
As Fein (1990) suggests, this neglect is shared by other social sciences which have pushed the genocide topic into the realm of specialty studies. There might have been hesitancy among anthropologists on tackling this matter because of its perceived threat to the concept of cultural relativity or perhaps they shied away from politically volatile issues. Whatever the reasons, they began to engage more actively in this topic during the 1980s.
In contributing to the small body of work on genocide in this field, this dissertation will examine the social and psychological implications of genocide on women. The dissertation will seek a deeper understanding of the most heinous crimes in history from an anthropological perspective. The researcher will not only describe the occurrence of such events, but also give an explanation for such an occurrence. The study will thus take new points of view which would be helpful in understanding the magnitude of past atrocities and in developing strategies to prevent the reoccurrence of such future massacres at the heart of humanity

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objectives of this study are:
• To investigate the social and psychological effects of genocide on women
• To understand the magnitude of past atrocities and give an explanation for such an occurrence from the perspective of anthropologists.
• To develop strategies to preventing the reoccurrence of future atrocities.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Whereas research focusing on genocide is vast, relatively few studies that explore on genocide from anthropological perspective have been published. In his book, Genocide: A sociological perspective, Fein (1990) describes the evolution of the genocide concept. Fein outlines key issues in the anthropology of genocide and laments the lack of academic research in this field. The author further proposes a criterion for distinguishing genocide and suggests new directions for further genocide research in the field of social sciences.

Zygmunt (1991) explores on modernity and the holocaust. He argues that the Holocaust was a product of modernity since it constituted of a coalescence of several aspects of modernity. While sharing a similar view, Bodley (1999) argues that the annihilation of indigenous people is a subject of modernity. In his book, “victims of progress”, he notes that genocide has been justified on grounds of modernity – the idea of “progress”. These pieces along with other seminal works from a few other anthropologists constitute the genocide studies in the field of anthropology showing the lack of academic research in this field.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The scope and content of this research will be guided by the following research questions
• What are the social and psychological implications of genocide on women?
• What are the possible causes of past atrocities?
• What strategies can anthropologists employ to prevent the reoccurrence of such future massacres?

METHODOLOGY

RESEARCH APPROACH

A quantitative research approach has been considered for this dissertation because such an approach would be more useful in obtaining a broader depth of analysis on the impact of genocide on women. Given the nature of this study, it would be more tenable to conduct a quantitative research.
RESEARCH STRATEGY

Secondary data sources will be employed as the main method of data collection and analysis. An important part of the strategy will be to ensure the availability and easy retrieval of the relevant data, given the vast amount of secondary data. This is important because archived secondary data are usually very large and retrieving the relevant information can be time consuming.
DATA COLLECTION

Survey will be used as the primary instrument for data collection. The researcher will survey archival documents on genocide research. Survey documents will be obtained from the British and US archives.
DATA ANALYSIS

In analyzing the data obtained above, the researcher will utilize publications from other sources in order to supplement the findings. The study will utilize scholarly and academic journals, textbooks and relevant publications on the implications of genocides on women, especially the book entitled “annihilating difference: the Anthropology of genocide”. The report by USAID’s Center for Development Information and Evaluation (CDIE) will also form an important contribution in this study. This report evaluates gender issues in postconflict societies while focusing predominantly on the impact of genocide on women (Dadrian 1995).
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

The main ethical issue likely to emerge in this study is the issue of obtaining consent with the primary researcher. It should be noted that informed consent cannot be presumed where there are sensitive data involved. However, given that it might not be feasible to seek additional consent, a professional judgment will have to be made by the researcher regarding the re-use of data and whether this amounts to violation of contracts made between the primary researchers and the subjects of genocidal regimes.

CONCLUSION

In view of the above, it can be concluded that this analysis is of paramount importance. Besides giving the social and psychological implications of genocide on women, the research will be helpful in understanding the magnitude of past atrocities and in developing strategies to prevent future occurrence of such massacres at the heart of humanity.

REFERENCES

Bodley, J., 1999. Victims of progress. 4th edition. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
Dadrian, V. , 1995. The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans
to Anatolia to the Caucasus. Providence, RI: Berghahn Books.
Fein, H., 1990. “Genocide: A sociological perspective”. Current sociology. Vol 38 (1)
Halpern, J.M., and D.A. Kideckel. 2000. Neighbours at war: Anthropological perspectives on Yugoslav ethnicity, culture and history. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press.
Hinton, A.L., 2002. Annihilating Difference: The anthropology of Genocide. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Jongman, A.J., 1996. Contemporary Genocides: causes, cases, consequences. Leiden: PIOOM
Kuper, L., 1981. Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century. NY: Penguin Paperback.
Prunier, G., 1997. The Rwanda crisis: History of a Genocide. 2nd edition. Columbia: Columbia University Press
Zygmunt, B., 1991. Modernity and the Holocaust. New York: Cornell University Press

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Critique of a research study by Ongori and Agolla (2008), ‘Occupational Stress in Organizations and its effects on Organizational Performance’.

Introduction

The following presents a critique of a research study by Ongori and Agolla (2008), ‘Occupational Stress in Organizations and its effects on Organizational Performance’.

There is great interest in the area, as “occupational stress affects employee turnover, productivity and firm performance” (Ongori and Agolla 2008). The authors carry out a study in Botswana amongst public sector workers, showing how stress impacts upon employees.

This critique will first present a short summary of the paper, then look at all aspects critically including structure and style, methodology, literature review, results and discussion.

Occupational stress can have a number of detrimental effects on the workforce, including illness, and can cost “up to 10% of a country’s GNP” (Midgley, 1996).There are different views on its definitions and causes, with popular usages confounded with academic ones, which lead to ambiguity in research. Similarly, the literature identifies many different causes in stress, however there is general agreement that “the main cause of occupational stress is work overload” (Topper 2007; Buchanan and Kaczynski 2004). The literature also identifies a wide area of outcomes of occupational stress, including poor motivation, poor performance, raised turnover and sickness levels and low morale, and this is complicated by the fact that stress can manifest in different ways including emotional, physical, behavioural, mental and health wise (Cohen and Single 2001)

Stress interventions can help minimise its effects including developing skills to cope (Johnson 2001). Other suggest addressing work overload, or opening communication channels (Tehrani 2002). The authors categories interventions as primary secondary or tertiary:

Primary – pre-emptive action on stress causes
Secondary – as stress develops, for example training programmes to help recognise symptoms
Tertiary – action taking place to remedy effects of stress

They also suggest the need for a ‘paradigm shift’ in order to better manage stress in the workplace, by shifting responsibility onto management.

The literature review forms a framework for the authors primary study, carried out in five public organizations. Demographic information and detailed information about stress was collected using a measurement tool developed from one proposed by McCarty, Zhao and Garland (2007). They received 75 completed questionnaires, and analysed the quantitative data using SPSS. The authors discuss their results extensively, both in writing and tables Their results cover four key areas – how employees perceive stressors in the working environment, how employees perceive symptoms of stress, how employees perceive the effects of their stress, and how they perceive possible stress management interventions. They relate their results to other research.

The authors finally draw conclusions from their study, suggesting it confirms the existence of stress, and also highlighting the need for a new approach to manage stress, using the ‘paradigm shift’ they discussed in the literature review. They also suggest that workload is primary cause of stress together with uncertainty, communication issues and conflict. They also point out that stress effects the entire organization through increased absenteeism, turnover and so on.. They suggest, as a result of their research, that interventions, particularly at the primary level can help reduce stress if implemented from management level, holistically and with regular audits.

1. Critique

In terms of structure and style, both are generally good: the article follows the accepted format, and the abstract provides a good summary. While the introduction sets the context for research well, it might have been structurally better to have a separate literature review, with the introduction giving a brief overview of the area, the reasons why it is important and what the study consists of. There is, however, good explanation of the key terms, and the authors point out those definitions of stress, for example, can be ambiguous. However, there are a number of grammatical mistakes which mar the overall paper. For example, the authors write “this research adopted quantitative method” rather than “the” quantitative method; elsewhere they have “primary interventions emphasize on identifying the possible causes”, which should be, perhaps “primary interventions emphasise identification of possible causes” or “primary interventions place emphasis upon identifying the possible causes”

The literature review is comprehensive, covering all aspects of stress from definitions, through causes, side effects, impact upon organisations and possible interventions. The authors reference a good number of existing researches, and provide an excellent, clear overview of the area. They cover definitions in depth, pointing out where these are debated or ambiguous. The review is also structured well. An overview of the nature of stress is followed by the presentation, by the authors, of a model to categorise stress interventions into primary, secondary and tertiary. They also introduce their notion that there needs to be a ‘paradigm shift’ towards greater management involvement in order to fully tackle the issues raised by occupational stress.On the negative side, there could have been more detailed discussion of the extensive literature linking stress, job satisfaction, intension to leave and employee turnover (see for example Griffith and Horn 2004). Also, the authors tend not to take a critical perspective on any of the author’s works discussed, rather summarising what they have to say about stress.

In terms of the study methodology, there are some negative points here, some of which are recognised by the authors at the end of the study, for example the sample size (75) is not large enough for the results to be generalisable. In addition, the authors give very few details about the research methods. There are no further details about the organizations selected, nor about the existing levels of stress in the organisations. Further, why were public, rather than private, sector organisations chosenAdditionally, they give no information about how potential respondents were approached. It is possible that methods used meant that the respondents who took part were particularly prone to stress, which would have biased the results. The information about distribution and collection of questionnaires is also scant. It is not clear if they were electronically distributed or otherwise, nor how long respondents had to complete them. There is also no discussion of whether ethical issues were considered. Finally, there could be more information on the data analysis. Why, for example, were descriptive statistics not backed up with inferential statisticsSPSS is a very powerful tool, with the capacity to produce very complex analyses of data (Collier 2009).

On the positive side, the authors carried out a pilot study, which allowed them to test their questionnaire, but it is not clear how carrying out the pilot also allowed them to ‘test the reliability and validity of the instrument’. More information is needed here. By using a development of an existing scale, the authors are also able to capitalise on the work done by McCarty et al (2007). However, a discussion of alternative scales which might have been used would have added to this paper.

In terms of the author’s discussion and the conclusions they draw from their results, there are a number of positives and negatives. Positively, they present the results very clearly. They provide tables to show responses for each of the four main question groups, and in addition they highlight particularly significant findings from the results, for instance that supervisors treat employees well. They also point out whether the results are consistent or inconsistent with work by previous researchers. One possible critique of this section is that it seems to list result after result, rather than summarising the key concepts. Had the authors provided a summary it might have made their findings clearer. For example, the section where they discuss symptoms of employee experience simply lists the percentages for each of the items asked about. The ‘conclusions and implications’ section does go some way towards redressing this balance, as it provides some summaries of the findings. However, it is unclear how some of the authors suggestions follow from the data. For example, they state that “this paper has demonstrated that… the traditional approach … is not enough to manage stress”. To show this, they would have to carry out a study amongst organisations using this method, and compare them with organisations which use other methods, for example. There is more evidence for their suggestion that stress is “mainly caused by the increase of work load”, but what they have really shown is that employees perceive work load as a major cause of stress, which is a slightly different thing. It is also unclear how they can conclude, on the basis of data collected that “managers… stand to gain if they can identify the signs of occupational stress among.. employees at their infancy stage”. The study did not investigate different stages in stress, nor in its treatment. On a positive note, they reintroduce ideas discussed in the literature review, concerning primary, secondary and tertiary data and the need for a paradigm change into their conclusion well, as with the notion of a paradigm change. They use these to introduce some interesting conclusions about changes that should be made to the management of stress, particularly the idea that change needs to be implemented throughout the whole organisation. However, it can be argued that they do not adequately back up these ideas through the results of the research they have presented.

2. Conclusion

This paper has presented a short critique of a paper looking at occupational stress. A brief summary was followed by a critical analysis of different aspects of the paper, from style and structure through to discussion and conclusions. While the paper has many positive aspects, the author’s conclusions seem only inadequately based in their primary research findings.

References

Buchanan, D and Huczynski, A (2004), Organizational Behaviour: An Introductory Text (5th ed.), Pearson Education Ltd, Harlow.

Cohen, J. and Single, L. E. (2001), ‘An Examination of the Perceived Impact of Flexible Work Arrangement on Professional Opportunities in Public Accounting’, Journal of Business Ethics, 32:4, 317-319.

Collier, J (2009) Using SPSS Syntax: A Beginner’s Guide, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, CA

Griffeth, R W and Hom, Innovative theory and empirical research on employee turnover, IAP, London

Johnson, S J (2001), ‘Occupational Stress Among Social Workers and Administration Workers within a Social Services Department’, unpublished

MSc. dissertation, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Manchester.

Midgley, S (1996) ‘Pressure Points (managing job stress)’, Journal of People Management, 3:14, 36

McCarty, W P, Zhao, J S and Garland, B E (2007), ‘Occupational Stress and Burnout Between Male and Female Police Officers: Are There Any Gender Differences’, International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 30:4, 672-691.

Ongori, H, and Agolla, J E (2008) ‘Occupational Stress in Organizations and Its

Effects on Organizational Performance’, Journal of Management Research, 8:3, 123-135.

Tehrani, N (2002), Managing Organisational Stress, CIPD, London

Topper, E F (2007), ‘Stress in the Library’, Journal of New Library, 108:11/12, 561-564.

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Select a consumer product/brand that has a large market in the UK and research its associated marketing programme and environment

Overview

This document is related to marketing and its various concepts. It is about the external environment in which a product or brand operates, the marketing mix and the overall marketing applications and environment.

In order to illustrate the application and how these things affect practically, a real world brand has been selected and all these concepts applied and analysed with respect to the particular brand. The assignment illustrates how marketing principles, tools and methods are employed within an organisation and how effective these strategies and actions prove to be. The brand selected for the purpose of analysis is Coke of which around 260 million products are sold every year in UK.

Assessment Task

You are to select a consumer product/brand that has a large market in the UK and research its associated marketing programme and environment.

The Brand-Coca Cola

Introduction

Coca-Cola is a worldwide global brand that exists in more than 200 countries. It is known for making carbonated soft drink generally known as Coke. Coke has been the top most consumer brand in UK throughout and was the leader in 2009 and 2010 as well (Source: The Nielsen Company). Coke is produced by the Coca Cola Company that also makes drinks for sports, juices etc. Coke is made from the extracts of coca leaves. The origin of the brand is United States. Coke is the industry leader and has the largest market share in United Kingdom and world over (Daily Mail, 2010). The company is involved in both related and unrelated diversification. Coke is a range brand that in turn has a product line under it in the form of diet Coke, Coca Cola Vanilla, Coca Cola Cheery, Coca Cola Zero and also comes in the flavours of coffee, lemon and lime.

The greatest focus on the brand is on the health aspect of its customers and this is the reason that the brand has decided to move towards the production of products made from natural raw material instead of synthetic ones (Daily Mail, 2010). The motto of the brand is to provide its consumers with life full of happiness and refreshing moments. It aims to provide the best value for people’s money in the form of a quality and tasteful product at affordable price. The brand provides employment opportunities to many people around the world thus adding values to their lives and improving their lifestyles and living. The brand has a proactive and learning approach.

Part ‘1’- The product/brand’s macro and competitive environments

Macro Environment

The macro environment consists of the overall external environment in which a product, brand or company exits. It consists of all the external forces which affect the performance of a brand or product but are not under control such as the overall political factors, cultural state, environmental factors etc. For this, the PESTAL analysis is used to study, understand and analyse the forces existing in the external environment and their overall affect. PESTEL analysis stands for political, economic, socio cultural, technological, environmental and legal forces that exist in the external environment and are uncontrollable that affect the firm externally. Research has claimed that organizational scanning technique is linked with improved organizational performance (Newgren, et al, 1984; Dollinger, 1984; West, 1988; and Murphy, 1987). The first component of environmental change, complexity is defined as a measure of heterogeneity or diversity in many environmental sub-factors such as customers, suppliers, socio-politics or technology (Lane & Maxfield, 1996:217; Chae & Hill, 1997:8 and Chakravarthy, 1997:69). Since complex and turbulent environments can be desirable, but since many businesses are uncertain about how to cope with such situations, it makes sense to identify ways to handle such environments. Many believe that identifying a causative link between environmental variables and management action is not possible because of the complexity of variables and the chaotic nature of environments (Winsor, 1995:181). However, recent research has stressed the inter-relationship between an organisation and its environment (Polonsky, Suchard & Scott, 1999:52). Organisations co-exist and co-evolve with their environments and therefore are able to influence the environment to a greater extent than previously thought (Brooks & Weatherston, 1997:13). Organisations shape their environments by influencing their industries or collaborating with each other, thereby gaining some control over some part of their environments. The environment is thus not completely determined by external forces, but can also be influenced by the organisation (Anderson, Hakansson & Johanson, 1994, in Ford, 1997:229).

Competitive Environment

Competitive environment consists of the factors affecting the competitive position of the firm. It consists of the competition a product or brand faces in terms of both; direct and indirect competitors, suppliers, buyers etc. For this, Porter five forces model best suits to analyse the effect and present situation of the competitive position of the firm. There is continuing interest in the study of the forces that impact on an organisation, particularly those that can be harnessed to provide competitive advantage. The ideas and models which emerged during the period from 1979 to the mid-1980s (Porter, 1998) were based on the idea that competitive advantage came from the ability to earn a return on investment that was better than the average for the industry sector (Thurlby, 1998). Porter (1980a) defined the forces which drive competition, contending that the competitive environment is created by the interaction of five different forces acting on a business.

You are required to write a report on the product/brand’s macro and competitive environments, so what you have presented is not required. You have written a literature review/essay on PESTEL and PORTER, both covering about 500 words. Not needed. You are only required to go straight into the product’s macro and competitive environments. Even though it is recommended to insert a bit of theory, it does not have to own its own chapter, or be composed of about 500 words in a 3,000 word report.

PESTEL analysis for Coke

Figure 1 on the below shows the forces affecting a firm externally.

Figure: 1 ( shell-livewire.org)

Political

Coke comes in the food category of consumer products. Favourable state policies and a stable government with no war, unrest is necessary for the production of Coke. A sound governmental policy is necessary so that the necessary infrastructure facilities, investment opportunities, skilled labour and manpower, technology advancement, distribution ease, resources and access to raw materials is possible and the necessary plant and production set up can be installed and executed properly. Changes in governmental regulations regarding production, policy regarding transfer of money across countries etc affect the company and all of these are determined by the political state. The ability to enter into strategic alliances also depends on the political conditions set by the state.

Economic

A strong economic environment with low interest rates, high GDP growth rate gives boost to any business and is helpful in generating sales and profits. Same is the case with Coke. If the overall economic environment in which a brand exits is healthy, growing and developing, the consumers have high demand, more disposable income and thus they spend more on consumer products which means more business for Coke. This also involves less spending on R&D by Coke and more innovative products can be introduced. It also helps to achieve economies of scale and scope. This also means better chances of business and penetration in emerging markets.

Socio Cultural

As Coke is a family brand that is meant for people of all ages, gender, occupation, lifestyle etc it is bought equally by individuals and families. Particularly, in countries where there is a broad family structure, it is consumed more and so is by youngsters and teenagers particularly by students. As the world is seeing more and more societal changes for example more women joining the work force, students living outside their homes etc, Coke has seeing tremendous growth as it is a time saving, quality and tasty beverage. People’s view regarding health is also changing dramatically and they are becoming more health conscious day by day. That is why Coke came up with and introduced Diet Coke meant for people who are diet conscious, have some health related issues such as diabetes or are generally more aware about healthy food products. Another evidence of changing societal and cultural aspects is that Coke has decided to come up with alternative to synthetic elements used in Coke. One such element is sodium benzoate which is addictive in nature and is the major constituent of Diet Coke. Research showed that this element is primarily responsible for damaging DNA in of yeast cells and causing children to become hyperactive. In light of increasing pressure, Coke has decided to come up with natural elements and stop suing this particular material in all its products including Diet Coke and Sprite.

Technology

Advancements in technology help a business in improving its functions, management, processes, distribution network, marketing techniques etc. It helps save both cost and time and exert less effort. Technology is also a vital part of Coke and has led to advancements in its marketing practices and techniques as Coke now makes use if the internet and indulges in e-commerce, m-commerce etc. which has become a medium of advertising and selling. Technology also helps in effective supply chain management for Coke and integrates all the functions and processes of the brand. Technology also helps to innovate and make products more appealing and attractive to customers. Technology has led to introduction and advancement in machinery which has enabled Coke to produce more number of products and thus fulfil the increasing demand conditions. Coke CCE UK employs state of the art technology which produces quality products in no time. It produces Coke cans faster than bullets come out a machine gun.

Environmental

Every brand has to look up towards the safety of the society and environment it operates in. It has to adhere to universal environmental laws and regulations. Coke is no exception in this regard and works actively towards the betterment and protection of society. The production of plastic bottles and cans are an example of this as they are bio degradable and easy and safe to dispose off. It also participates in corporate social responsibility and conducts various activities that focus on creating awareness, education, improving social welfare and providing facilities and benefits to the people and society and climate protection. That is why it pays special attention to the need and importance of recycling and disposal of its products. In order to preserve the natural resources and climate, Coke has constantly been reducing the amount of water used in its products in an effort to preserve water.

Legal

Like all other industries, Coke also has to adhere to legal procedures and regulations set by the government. Without abiding to these laws and regulations, Coke cannot carry out its business. These include accounting principles, transparency and reporting standards, taxation laws, and foreign firm restrictions as all these form part of the legal environment and is mandatory for all firms operating in the industry to abide by. So changes in any of these things also affect Coke and the way it does its business.

There is no actual evidence, or reference that supports any of your analysis. They seem like something a non academic would write by having known Coke all their life. In order to present a good quality work, you must present “ good range of issues identified; evidence of clear thought and subject perception.”, When writing such, I would recommend looking for actual evidence of PESTEL from the company’s annual reports. There is always talks on their political issues (you should have spoken about Saudi there), and when doing such, you should reference appropriately, so the writer knows your arguments are well justified and have been obtained from somewhere.

Porter five forces model for Coke

This model is used to access the competitive position of the brand and see where it stands relative to its competitors.

Existing rivalry among firms

Rivalry among existing firms is high as Coke has both direct and indirect competitors. The industry is generally regarded as duopoly and the small firms are not significant. The biggest competitor of Coke is Pepsi which enjoys the same kind of image, brand loyalty, customer base and geographic reach as Coke. Both of these brands compete head to head with each other and thus rivalry is intense among them. They mostly compete on the basis of differentiation and advertising and not on pricing strategies. Competition between them is at a global level as both are multinationals.

Figure: 2 below shows the five forces model.

Figure: 2 Source: Marketingteacher.com

Bargaining power of buyers

The major buyers of Coke not only include end customers who buy from retails stores, vending machines etc but also include restaurants, fast food chains, cafes in schools, colleges and universities. Thus, the bargaining power of buyers is high as there are many buyers of the product.

Bargaining power of suppliers

The bargaining power of suppliers is low because the raw materials that Coke requires are general and easily available such as sugar, caffeine etc. Switching costs from one supplier to another are also very low. Threat of forward integration is low as well.

Threat of substitute products

Threat of substitute products is high in the form of both direct products and in the form of other non alcoholic drinks like; Pepsi and indirect substitutes such as water, tea, juice, energy drinks, coffee etc. Switching costs are also low. Also, all the products are almost the same in terms of value and pricing. Thus, product for product substitution, generic substitution and related substitution are all there in this industry.

Threat of new entrants

Threat of new entrants is low due to several barriers to entry. Firstly, it involves huge capital investment setting up bottling plants, machinery etc. The market is already mature and saturated with market leaders. Coke has achieved economies of scale and scope. Its ingredients are rare, valuable and difficult to imitate. Customers are very brand loyal and it’s difficult to have the same brand image and equity as Coke. Coke has agreements with distributors and suppliers in every region and no other company can enter into agreements with them. Also, for a new entrant it’s not easy to spend so much on advertising campaign the way Coke does as it has a strong financial muscle.

Just like I wrote in relation to PESTEL. You show that you do have an understanding of relevant theories as they have been incorporated accurately. However, the main issues you are analysing are not necessarily backed up with evidence, which may then affect the student. How do you know they have substitute products, except for what you can readily think ofHow do you know they are actually substitute productsWho told you soWhat new substitute products have come up recentlyWhat recent issues have they had with suppliersWhat are the current strategiesWhere are the referencesWhat are the new most recent threats to Coke?

Part ‘2’ – The marketing programme elements (marketing mix elements) currently employed

Marketing Mix

Marketing mix or the 4 P’s or 7 P’s of marketing refers to the tactics and strategies of product, price, placement, people, processes, physical evidence and promotion of a brand. These are all part of the marketing plan and help create brand image, equity and loyalty among the target market segment. It defines how a product or brand is positioned. traditional market research and traditional marketing mix models are too simplistic to understand complex marketing situations, as such models assume linear relationships between mix variables and the resultant outcomes (McGlone & Ramsey, 1998:248 and Tedesco, 1998:5). Since the simplistic approaches recommended by traditional theories can be dangerous, marketers should consider the overall environmental position when designing their strategies and adopt non-traditional marketing methodologies (Wollin & Perry, 2004:568). The classic 4Ps of marketing have been questioned as inadequate (Van Waterschoot & Van den Bulte, 1992:91), and developed further into the 7Ps of Booms and Bitner (in Zeithaml & Bitner, 2003:24) and of Christopher et al. (in Palmer, 1994:32). However, the 4Ps is still the most common model of the marketing mix (e.g. Kotler & Keller, 2006:19)

I have a feeling that if I did have the time to count, the number of actual theories (that were not requested for) would exceed the actual company analysis (that was requested for).

Marketing Mix of Coke

Product

Coke is a non-alcoholic, soft carbonated drink that is made from the extracts of coco leaves. It has a distinguishing taste and is of great quality and taste. Apart from the regular Coke, it also has other variants such as Diet Coke, Coca Cola Vanilla, Coca Cola Zero, and Coca Cola Cheery along with special types of Coke that comes in lime, coffee and lemon. The concentrate which is the sole of the product is manufactured by the company itself and then sold to licensed bottlers who later produce the finished product by making a mixture of the concentrate, sweeteners and water. It is then poured into cans and bottles and sold. The brand name is well known, famous, recognised and recalled by virtually everyone in UK and around the globe.

Figure: 3Source: marketingteacher.com

The product’s logo, design and colour are all well known and people associate themselves with this brand. It’s a symbol of lifestyle. The brand is among the highest equity brands. The product keeps on innovating to maintain its attractiveness and appeal. It comes in glass and plastic bottles as well as cans of different sizes and capacities in order to suit the needs of everyone be it individuals or big families, parties etc. Coke even comes as Coke Mini which is a can of 7.5 ounce. The brand is known for its great quality and taste. It gives special attention to the health and safety aspect of its consumers and that is why is moving towards the use of all natural elements used in production. The introduction of Diet Coke and focus on recycling and safe disposal of the product are also given great importance. The design of the bottle has a great appeal and is known as the Contour bottle. It is distinctive in nature and looks smart, hip and trendy. It serves to fulfil the physiological or basic needs of its consumers. Figure 3 above shows the elements of a marketing mix.

Price

Coke is seen to be involved in competitive pricing in order to better compete with its competitor Pepsi but it does not compromise on quality. The price of Coke is fixed but it occasionally comes up with seasonal discounts and pricing, bundling, volume discounts, etc in times of holiday season or other such events. Coke does not indulge in discriminatory pricing however it offers wholesale pricing when selling to fast food chains such as McDonalds, restaurants etc.

Placement

A distribution channel is a non-linear system that can be stable, periodically oscillating, or chaotic (Priesmeyer, 1992:79). Distribution network of Coke is very extensive and that is why it is available everywhere. It makes sure that Coke is easily available to everyone by making use of supermarkets, retail stores, vending machines, restaurants etc. The company has contracts with distributors and suppliers and occupies the best shelf space in every store and market. It can be found everywhere. It works all over the globe by making use of franchising.

Apart from the Promotion subchapter below, no other marketing mix element has been reported with actual proof. Even the promotion subchapter below does not contain any references, therefore where did you get your information fromThey all seem to be based on the understanding of the writer and nothing else. This is an academic report, and as such needs market report. For instance Datamonitor, Mintel or KeyNote would have been very crucial in understanding the soft drinks market which Coke operates in, and thus assist you in conducting a better analysis.

Promotion

Promotion has been the biggest success factor behind Coke. Coke spends heavily on advertising and is involved mainly in above the line promotion. Initially modes of advertisement were newspapers, radio, billboards and providing customers with free samples and coupons of Coke. Today, Coke relies mostly on television advertising as it has both high frequency and reach and involves both audio and visuals. Coke always comes up with new and innovative adverts and makes special advertisements for every region it operates in that are suited to the local culture and needs. Coke also has brand ambassadors and spends heavily on promotion. Coke makes use of glittering generalities which are very persuasive in nature. It is involved in the sponsorship of many events particularly related to youth and sports. The major events sponsored by Coke include Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Cricket World Cup and The Football League. Many movie and television serial producers also promote Coke in their productions.

Part ‘3’ – Your fully justified recommendations in respect of the revised marketingprogramme elements needed to improve market size and/or profitability

In light of the above analysis, there is no doubt that Coke is one of the biggest, strongest and most successful consumers brands present not only in UK but everywhere on this planet. It has a huge and loyal customer base and is the market leader.

Recommendations

But there are certain things that Coke needs to focus and improve upon in order to be more productive, efficient and earn more profit margins.

Firstly, it needs to work upon its brand image in certain countries such as Saudi Arabia and the parts of Middle East. In these parts of the world, Coke is banned and boycotted as Coke keeps on making timely investments in Israel. These countries only allow Pepsi to be sold within their premises and thus Coke is losing on a very big chunk of the market and Pepsi is making its strong hold there.
Secondly, it should focus more on its distribution channels and make them wider and more effective as Coke is still not widely and easily available as Pepsi.
Thirdly, it needs to work more on its advertisement campaigns as Pepsi has an edge over Coke in this aspect. Coke should also advertise and sell more through online channels and advertise on social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook etc.
The company should make sure that the consumers are well aware about all its latest promotions and activities such as bundling offers, discounts, special offers, price cuts, timely offers etc. The company should also revise its segmentation strategy and form even small target market segments so it can better and effectively understand the drastically changing needs and wants of its customers and be able to fulfill and satisfy them.
Coke needs to diversify into other conventional and non conventional products thus engaging both in related and unrelated diversification (non-carbonated products) so that it has a broad and diverse portfolio of products and it can do this easily by making use of its brand name and equity.
Establishing a feedback mechanism is also very necessary.
Coke needs to pay special attention to the markets in which its performance is declining such as Thailand and Indonesia and should try to penetrate more in the emerging markets which are the biggest market for consumer goods today.

The requirements were for “Your fully justified recommendations in respect of the revised marketingprogramme elements needed to improve market size and/or profitability” And as such, each recommendation you have provided should have been backed up with actual problems, and references to these problems. These problems should have been highlighted as the major threats of your market research, and not just brought up in the recommendations chapter. One of your recommendations is “establishing a feedback mechanism is also very necessary”. How is that justified in anywayWhy is it essential to establish a feedback mechanism, who said soAnd what makes you feel it is important. If it is you, then why should it be an actual recommendation for an organisation. There is a reason why we only have 14 writers out of up to 200 applications, and it is because we need to trust everyone to provide the best quality written work. I cannot risk damaging the reputation of our site Essays by sending this work to the client. I would hate to think of the consequences.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that Coke is one of the largest and most successful consumer brand in UK and globally. It occupies the largest market share and deals with external and internal pressures effectively. Its marketing plan and mix is very good and has helped to enable Coke to stay competitive and compete with Pepsi in the best possible and efficient manner.

As everything has pros and cons, a bright and dark side, some advantages and disadvantages; same is the case the Coke. There are some aspects on which Coke lags behind and they require its immediate attention if Coke wants to stay on the top and further increase its market value, market share and size and increase in profitability.

References:

Aaker,D. (1991), Managing Brand Equity: Capitalizing on the Value of a Brand Name, Free Press, New York, NY.
Aaker, Jennifer (1997), “Dimensions of Brand Personality”, Journal of Marketing Research, 34 (3), 347-356
Amirkhan, J.H. (1990), “A factor analytically derived measure of coping: the coping strategy indicator”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 59 No. 5, pp. 1066-74.
Batra, Rajeev, Donald R. Lehmann and Dipinder Singh (1993), “The Brand Personality Component of Brand Goodwill: Some Antecedents and Consequences” in Brand Equity and Advertising, ed. David A. Aaker, Alexander Biel, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 83-96.
Ben Delaney, (2007), The Marketing Mix.
Chandy, R., Tellis, G. J., MacInnis, D., & Thaivanich, P. (2001), What to say when: Advertising appeals in evolving markets. Journal of Marketing Research, 38, 399–41
Dacin, P.A. and Smith, D.C. (1994), “The effect of brand portfolio characteristics on consumer evaluations of brand extensions”, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 31, May, pp. 229-42.
Davis, F.D. (1989), “Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology”, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 319-39
Doyle, Peter (2001), Marketing Management and Strategy, 3rd edition, New York.
Fernandez, Colin (2008,. “DNA Damage Fear”. London: The Daily Mail.
Gerard J. Tellis. (2006), Modelling Marketing Mix, University of Southern California.
Hanssens, Dominique M., Leonard J. Parsons, Randal L. Schultz. . Market Response Models: Econometric and Time Series Analysis ,2nd ed. Kluwer Academic Press, Boston, M,2001.
Michael Porter, (1990), The Competitive Advantage of Nations.
Porter, Michael E.(1980) Competitive Strategy. New York: Free Press
Tellis, G. J. (2004). Effective advertising: How, when, and why advertising works. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Terwiesch, C, 2005, Product Development as a Problem-solving Process. in S. Shane, Blackwell Handbook on Technology and Innovation Management, forthcoming
Simon , Kucher & Partners (2004), Power Pricing, WHU Koblenz.
Singh V., K. Hansen, R. Blattberg. 2006. Market entry and consumer behaviour: An investigation of a wal-mart supercenter. Marketing Sci. 25(5) 457–476.
Shankar, V., R. Bolton. (2004), An empirical analysis of determinants of retailer pricing strategy. Marketing Sci. 23(1) 28–49
Rajendran, K. N., & Tellis, G. J. (1994). Is reference price based on context or experienceAn analysis of consumers’ brand choices. Journal of Marketing, 58, 10–22
Wen-fei L. Uva, (2001), Smart Pricing Strategies, Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1021820/Diet-Coke-drop-additive-DNA-damage-fear.html 30-12-2010

http://www.shell-livewire.org/why-u-need-a-business-plan/PEST-analysis/ 30-12-2010

http://marketingteacher.com/lesson-store/lesson-five-forces.html 31-12-2010

http://marketingteacher.com/lesson-store/lesson-marketing-mix.html 31-12-2010

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Sample Research Methodology Chapter: Quantitative Research

Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to explain in detail the research methods and the methodology implemented for this study. The chapter will explain first of all the choice of research approach, then the research design, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the research tools chosen. This will be followed by a discussion on their ability to produce valid results, meeting the aims and objectives set by this dissertation. The chapter then goes on to discuss the sample size and the sampling strategy applied by the author, and the data analysis methods which have been used. It concludes with a brief discussion on the ethical considerations and limitations posed by the research methodology, as well as problems encountered during the research.

Research Approach

This dissertation makes use of qualitative research strategy, where the research approach implemented has been that of interpretivism. Willis (2007) defines interpretivism as an approach which is implemented by the researcher in order to synthesize facts which are derived mainly from secondary sources, and which are qualitative in nature. He also observes that one characteristics of interpretivism is that these facts are abstract in nature, and governed by a variety of factors which are non-tangible and difficult to measure. These can be economic, social, or cultural factors. Therefore for the purposes of this research, the author chose the interpretivist approach, rather than the positivist and the pragmatist approaches, because abstract, non-quantifiable variables such as “”, “finding the arts in business and working with them to create a memorable experience”, comparing “traditional management” with “performing art management” and analysing whether performing techniques and their application into business can have positive influence on business practice were part of the objectives of the dissertation. These are all elements, which are not easily quantifiable (measureable), and between which different and complex connections were found to exist, therefore interpretivism was found to be most applicable.

Research Design

This research makes use of a qualitative research strategy in the sense that there will be no numeric data or quantitative data was produced (Bell, 2005; Sarantakos, 2013; Silverman, 2004). A qualitative research strategy is particularly applicable for the purposes of this research, where the connection between several different variables had to be established through interpretation. Also, the research makes use of triangulation because triangulation gives the opportunity to approach the research objectives from different viewpoints (Cohen and Manion, 2002; Altrichter et. al, 2008), obtaining a more nuanced view of the connections between the different variables. For this study, triangulation was very useful because the researcher aimed to find the intersection between two very different variables belonging to very distinct industries – the arts (performing arts in particular) and business. This necessitated questionnaires and interviews with the employees who have been recipients of the management with performing art model and with their managers as well.

The validity and the advantages and disadvantages of the tools used to implement the research strategy will be discussed next.

Research Methods

For the purposes of this research, the writer has decided to use a combination of two of the classic social sciences research tools – questionnaires and interviews (Winchester, 1999; Sarantakos, 2013; Silverman, 2004; Greenfield, 2002). The questionnaires will be distributed among managers from several companies which have used art elements as part of their management techniques, as well as among carefully selected employees of the same companies, who form part of the team of the same managers. As a complementary method, the writer conducted interviews with an equal number of representatives of each group. The advantages and disadvantages of each method are discussed below.

Questionnaires

Questionnaires were chosen for this research because they are a reliable and quick method to collect information from multiple respondents in an efficient and timely manner. This is especially important when it comes to large projects, with several complex objectives, where time is one of the major constraints (Greenfield, 2002; Silverman, 2004; Bell, 2005). This study was no exception and questionnaires were a quick and effective way for the researcher to reach multiple respondents within several weeks. A general disadvantage of the questionnaires however is their fixed and strict format, which eliminates the possibility for more in-depth or abstract observation (Bell, 2005; Sarantakos, 2013). Again, this study was not an exception from this rule, as the questionnaires provided linear and clear results, but many elements from the research were left uncovered.

Interviews

In order to cover more abstract aspects of the research, the author chose as a complementary method structured interviews consisting of several questions, which were distributed among representatives of each participant group. Interviews are often used as complementary research method in the social sciences, because they give the opportunity for a more in-depth, open discussion, and more informal, free interaction between the interviewer and the interviewee (Potter, 2002; Winchester, 1999; Sarantakos, 2013). Despite being considered a disadvantage because it produces subjective results, the flexible format of the interviews was a major advantage for this study, as some nuances of the research such as exploring “emotions”, and “creating memorable experience” could not be properly captured with the questionnaire design. Of course the results from the interviews are not generalizable, because of the subjectivity of data obtained. On the other hand, their flexible format contributed for a deeper explanation and understanding of the connection between performing art and business performance, and if the researcher could have done the dissertation again, this would probably be chosen as the primary, not the secondary research method.

Other methods

Upon embarking on this research, the author initially considered focus groups and participant observation as possible research methods, due to the behavioural elements contained in this research.. However, because of time constraints and cost, these research methods were not opted for.

Initially the researcher also considered researching two groups of employees by comparison – one coming from an organisation where the performance management model is used, and another one, where this model is not used. They would be both given the same questionnaire. This approach was overruled however, because it does not reflect the interactive nature of the model being studied in which managers and business leaders play crucial role.

Sampling Strategy

For the purposes of this study, the writer had to examine two separate groups of participants. A method of stratified sampling has been used, as the relationships between different sub-groups had to be observed (Kirby et. al, 2000: 339). Furthermore, a particular group of the total population was invited to the interviews, forming a sub-group of the original population. Also, the participants were selected on the basis of specific criteria, such as company (organisation), where a particular type of model has been implemented.

The first group of participants consisted of managers from companies where the performance arts approached has been used. A total of 10 managers were involved in the study, and over 50 different managers from five different companies across the UK were contacted in order to reach the target group. The author tried to create as diverse a sample as possible, making sure there was an equal number of men and women represented, and more importantly thatthere were representatives of various industries: advertisingretail, finance, fashion and digital marketing. The other group of participants consisted of 30 employees, who were part of the teams of each one of the 10 managers. Not every team had the exact same number of people, as some teams were smaller and others larger. . However, the size of the teams was irrelevant to the purposes of this study as the participants had to complete individual questionnaires. All of the participants were approached via email, and the questionnaires were distributed via email, then completed by the participant and returned via email again. This took place in the course of four weeks. Five of the managers and five of the employees were invited for an interview, they were randomly selected from the questionnaire sample and the interviews took place took place over the phone/Skype and recorded then transcribed by the researcher. The interviews took place in the course of one month. The full transcripts of the interviews as well as the questionnaires are attached in the appendices.

Instrument Design

Questionnaires

For the purposes of this research the writer designed two separate questionnaire scripts and two brief interview scripts.

The questionnaire for the managers from the companies consisted of twenty open questions, related to the business performance of their employees. The first part of the questionnaire consisted of demographic questions, related to age, gender, and questions related to the professional role of the participants, such as length of their experience in the company, exact position and responsibilities. The core questions were divided into groups for clarity, addressing the main objectives of the research, through the perspective of the managers. More importantly, these questions were designed to address the core competencies, established in the previous chapter to assess business performance by art performance – leadership, communication, team-building, emotion management, and creativity.

The questionnaire for the employees consists of the same number of questions, and again combines open and closed questions. Apart from the demographic questions, the rest of the questions are organised into groups, addressing the objectives through the prism of the employees, and addressing individual narratives on important concepts such as creativity, improvisation, and team-building within the organisation.

Interviews

The interview scripts for both groups consist of six brief, but open questions.

The questions for the managers were designed to discuss in detail leadership as performance, and “business as show business”.

The questions for the employees were designed to reflect their experience as recipients of the performance bound management, and address specific components such as playing, rehearsing, performing in the workplace, with the purpose of team building and more effective task delivery/distribution.

The full scripts of the questionnaires and the interviews are available in the Appendices.

Data Collection

Most of the communication with the participants took place via email. Before that however, the author created a large database of companies, which met the research criteria using a simple google search. The author purposefully targeted smaller organisations, because the probability of being granted access to employees was higher, and the process – less time-consuming, which turned out to be the case. At first the writer contacted via the phone relevant people from each company, to make them acquainted with the purposes of the research and to ask for permission to conduct the research with representatives from their companies. For confidentiality, the job titles of the initial contacts are not disclosed, especially having in mind their job titles are not relevant to the research, as they are not direct participants in it. In some cases, the managers distributed the questionnaires to their employees, and in other cases the writer approached the employees directly via email. The questionnaires were distributed and completed in the course of four weeks. The interviews were conducted over the phone/Skype depending on the preferences of the participant. They were then recorded and transcribed by the researcher. The interviews were completed within four weeks.

Methods of Data Analysis

The analysis of the questionnaire results took place via thematic analysis. . Because of the small number of respondents and the diverse design and answer sets of the questions, and because of the qualitative research approach of the study, the author did not use any of the statistical software available such as SPSS or STRATA.

The results of the interviews were also analysed manually, where the author aimed to detect common words, phrases, and group or “cloud” them together, in order to be able to determine trends and tendencies in the answers of the respondents.

The results from the questionnaires were presented in the format of tables and charts. The major findings of this dissertation will be discussed in details in the next chapter.

Ethical Considerations

There were several types of ethical issues, which the researcher had to take into consideration for this project. The most important one was related with the informed consent of the participants. All of the participants (both managers and employees) were informed in advance about the purposes of this project, and gave their informed consent to participate in writing. Their identity as well as the names of the organisations they belong to has been kept in strict confidentiality, thus meeting the requirements of the code of ethics of the University.

In addition, the privacy and confidentiality policy of all of the companies had to be taken into consideration as well, as the companies have a very strict policy for access to their employees for research purposes. Therefore the researcher had to sign consent forms for confidentiality and privacy with the companies whose employees and managers agreed to participate in the study.

Consent forms are attached in the Appendices.

Finally, all the information collected in the course of this dissertation has been used only for the purposes of the study, and will be kept confidential.

Problems and Limitations

There were several problems and challenges which the researcher encountered while conducting the research for this dissertation.

The first challenge was recruiting a sufficient number of participants. The creation of the initial database of prospective companies took long time, and many times the requests of the researcher were turned down, because most of the companies rarely allow the opportunity for external research. Thus access to the participants and obtaining permission for the research was a major challenge.

Secondly the researcher was restricted by time and cost, which determined the choice of more efficient method, such as the questionnaire, instead of the more time consuming focus groups or participant observation.

In terms of the methodology chosen, there are several limitations which need to be mentioned. The first one is the fact that because of the small sample, the data collected and the findings made cannot be extrapolated on a broader scale. In other words, the generalizability of the results is questionable.

Another weakness of the methodology was related to the fact that the researcher used interpetivist approach, which was determined by the nature and the objectives of the research. In this sense the results and the achievements of this project can be deemed as biased, because the connections between the different variables have been determined not on the basis of empirical evidence, but on the basis of the analytical and judgemental skills of the researcher, in the context of a particular academic field.

Conclusion

This chapter has outlined and justified the research methodology implemented in this dissertation and its validity. Because of the nature of the research, the author opted for the qualitative strategy, bound by interpretivist approach. The key research tools were questionnaire, supplemented by interviews with two groups of participants – employees and managers. The participants were carefully targeted and recruited through stratified sampling technique. The results were analysed manually, due to the small sample of participants. The major results and findings of this dissertation are discussed in the following chapter.

References:

Altrichter, H., Feldman, A., Posch, P. & Somekh, B. (2008). Teachers investigate their work; An introduction to action research across the professions. London: Routledge. p. 147. (2nd edition).

Bell, J. (2005) Doing Your Research Project, Berkshire: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill Education

Cohen, L.,& Manion, L. (2000). Research methods in education. London: Routledge. p. 254. (5th edition).

Greenfield, T. (2002) Research Methods for Postgraduates, London: Arnold

Kirby, M., Konbel., F., Barter, J., Hope, T., Kirton, D., Madry, N., Manning, P., Trigges, K. (2000) Sociology in Perspective, Oxford: Heinnemann

Potter, S. (2002) Doing Postgraduate Research, London: Sage

Sarantakos, S. (2013) Social Research, Basingstoke: Macmillan

Silverman, D., (2004). Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice. 2nd ed. London: Sage Publication.

Willis, J. W., (2007). Foundations of Qualitative Research: Interpretive and Critical Approaches. London: Sage

Winchester, H. P. M. (1999) ‘Interviews and Questionnaires as Mixed Methods in Population Geography: The Case of Lone Fathers in Newcastle, Australia’, The Professional Geographer, 51: 1, 60 — 67 DOI: 10.1111/0033-0124.00145 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0033-0124.00145

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Market Research and Business Plan

Executive Summary:

This business plan focuses upon the idea of a small electrical company with the name of Braze, which distinguishes itself from its competitors upon the basis of providing customers with colourful and designed electronic products. The exteriors of the products are offered in neon colours and a variety of designs and are aimed at attracting fashion-conscious, fun-loving, and generally young consumers who are appreciative of brightly coloured products. The brand will price its products at a slight premium and position the pricing in the midst of Samsung and Sony. The brand will initially open outlets in the cities of London, Birmingham, and Manchester and gradually expand into other international markets once it stabilizes itself and gains a strong customer base.

This business plan conducts a competitor analysis, explains the pricing and marketing strategy of Braze, analyzes its customer profile, and describes its initial start-up costs and payback period. The report concludes with an analysis of the company’s future plans and a summary of all the main points made in the plan.

Introduction:

The electronics industry is highly penetrated and carries a great degree of competition. However, the industry also holds a vast amount of potential and profitability as new products are invented and upgraded from previous models. Consumers are looking for highly innovative, easy-to-use, and trendy products which add to their style, convenience, and are as much automated as possible. The drawback of investing in the electronics industry is that products have a very short lifecycle and quickly become outdated once they are released in the market and it is essential for producers to ensure that they continue to innovate their products as much as possible to ensure customer retention. Another problem of investing in the electronics industry is that it may require significant investment, continuous innovation and efficiency, and a highly interesting unique selling proposition in order for businesses to set themselves apart from their competitors. Moreover, the electronics industry also has a very narrow and competitive pricing strategy as it is a requirement for them to price their products in line with their competitors (Tidd & Bessant, 2011).

This business plan will outline a proposal for a new small electronics and electric company and will begin with an analysis of the existing competition in the market and how this company can set itself apart from its competitors, commence with an analysis of the costs and payback period estimated for the required project, followed by a description of the staffing requirements for the project, and concluding with a description of the future plans for the company and its expansion.

Business Idea/Unique Selling Proposition:

The business idea is to begin a new electrical company which offers a highly innovative and personalized service, and offers their clients technological products which also add to the customer’s home decor and/ or personalized preferences. The company seeks to offer electrical appliances, such as televisions, tablets, laptops, hair styling and grooming appliances, and other electrical appliances, in the home category or the self-care category. The company’s name will be Braze and this name is suggested because it is short and comprehensive and also has a highly jazzy feel to it. The “z” sound at the end is used to give the company’s name a hi-tech sound while the “br” sound at the beginning of the company’s name is used to signify the “brightness” as those are the types of products that the company is offering to its customers. Moreover, the company originates in England and the “br” at the beginning of the company’s name also gives it a “British” feel which helps the company maintain its identity and helps consumers recognize its country-of-origin.

The main business idea is to offer consumers a variety of electrical products and to differentiate itself upon the basis of providing these products in a variety of different colours. For example, the company may offer LED screen televisions, tablets, hair straighteners, and other appliances in a variety of colours such as blue, green, golden, red, purple, and other designs. Designs such as leopard prints, snake prints, zebra prints, and other colours may be offered in the electrical appliances which may appeal to varying consumer segments and attract consumers who wish to match these appliances with their home decor or wish to match them with their personal preferences. This is also the point that the company will use as its unique selling proposition and its point of differentiation from other companies.

The next section of this plan will conduct a comprehensive competitor analysis of the electronics industry and the types of products being offered.

Competitor Analysis:

As mentioned before, the electronics industry is highly saturated with many companies competing to gain market share and customer loyalty. Most of the companies in the industry seek to gain customer loyalty and market share through competing upon the basis of price, quality, and being the first to introduce updated models of previously introduced electrical appliances. The largest companies in the industry include:

Sony·Slightly premium priced

·Differentiates itself on the basis of high quality and goodwill as it is a renowned company

·Produces a variety of products including mobile phones, televisions, laptops and tablets, etc.

(MIT Technology Review, 2013)

Samsung·Moderately priced but in-line with competitors

·Competes with competitors on the basis of price while also ensuring that it maintains quality

·Produces the same variety of products that Sony does

(BusinessInsider, 2013)

Nobel·Low-priced compared to competitors

·Competes with competitors mainly on the basis of price while it is known for having moderate levels of quality

·Produces nearly the same variety of electrical products as its competitors

(MIT Technology Review, 2013)

Pricing Analysis of Competitor Companies:

Samsung Plasma TV 43”- ?399.00 (Amazon, 2014)

Sony Plasma TV 43”– ?433.00 (Amazon, 2014)

Nobel Plasma TV 43”– ?295.00 (Amazon, 2014)

Brand Positioning and Pricing Strategy for Braze:

As Braze is going to be a small electrical company catering to a market niche which prefers colourful and designed electrical products, the company is likely to have higher costs compared to its competitors as they are all well-established brands who have a well-defined customer base. Thus, the company is going to charge its customers a slight premium price from that charged by Nobel and Toshiba as it aims to position itself as a modern, high-quality, fashionable brand which represents convenience, quality, and style at the same time.

The company will begin with approximately three outlets in various parts of England, especially in the larger cities such as London, Birmingham, and Manchester. The outlets will be designed differently from traditional electronics shops which usually have plain white interiors or use light colours in their interiors. The shops will have colours, such as pink, green, golden, purple, and other colours, which would add a highly bright and fun-loving image to the shops. The interiors of the outlets will be lit with spotlights and some neon lights, which will extenuate the designs of each of the electronic products.

The staff in the shops will be trained to provide customers with a highly personalized service and keep records of customer preferences and will also be encouraged to take customer suggestions regarding popular product designs that customers may prefer in the products. The staff will be wearing uniforms of bright colours and will be encouraged to display salesmanship which exemplifies the company’s tagline of “We Wish to Brighten Your Day”. The interiors of the outlets will be luxuriously furnished with easy chairs and magazines which show the company’s range of products.

The company is aiming to exemplify a differentiated image which also promotes an aura of luxury, style, fashion-consciousness, and a high level of personalization. Thus, the company will be charging a slightly higher price than Nobel but a slightly lower price than Sony as the company is aiming to break into a highly penetrated and competitive market. The company’s price list may be as follows:

Plasma Television 43”- ?400.00

Tablet-?350.00

Microwave Ovens-?100.00

Set-up Costs and Payback Period:

In its initial stages, the company will need a high amount of investment to develop its products and set up its three outlets. The company will need investment for production costs and then investment for purchasing furniture and other essentials for its three outlets. The company would require approximately ?100,000 pounds to develop and produce a small range of designed and coloured products. The company is advised to rent a small factory area in the suburbs of London or Birmingham to facilitate its production process and also initially rent its three outlets in London, Birmingham, and Manchester as there may be requirements of switching locations from time to time. The company is advised to rent these outlets within malls such as BrentCross in London or Trafford Centre in Manchester in order to help the brand gain maximum exposure. Thus, the company’s initial costs would be estimated to amount to the following amounts:

Product Development Costs: ?100,000

Factory Rent: ?1500 p.m.

Machinery Costs: ?100,000

Outlet Rent in London: ?2000 p.m. (Gumtree, 2014)

Outlet Rent in Manchester: ?1850 p.m. (Gumtree, 2014)

Outlet Rent in Birmingham: ?1900 p.m. (Gumtree, 2014)

During the company’s initial stages, the company is likely to have a small range of customers as it is basically catering to a market niche. Thus, we can assume that the company is likely to sell approximately 50 products in each of its outlets per month during its first year of operations. As the company expands its product range and focuses upon advertising and promotional activities, it may be able to expand its customer base and increase its sales. However, this process is likely to take 2-3 years before the brand can consider itself to be stable in the electronic goods niche market. The firm is likely to recover its investment in approximately 5 years time but is not likely to recover its initial investment before this time period as it will be struggling to expand its customer base.

Customer Profile and Marketing Strategy:

The company will initially be catering to customers of both genders within the approximate age range of 15-50 who would appreciate the brightly coloured electrical appliances that the company offers and also have the ability to pay for the slightly premium priced products. The company’s customers are also likely to be fashion-conscious, fun-loving, energetic, and having an appreciation for colours and designs. The brand is likely to appeal to women more than men as women would be more likely to appreciate the aesthetic appeal of the electronic products offered than men would.

Hence, the company’s initial marketing and advertising strategy will be based on demonstrations and displays within the popular malls of England and through pamphlets dispersed throughout the three cities in the homes of potential consumers. Advertisements will also be made on billboards, radio, and within magazines. The company will initially be located in only three cities of England, thus the company may not initially depend upon television advertisements but may also pursue this medium when it expands its business to other areas as well.

Staffing Arrangements and Position of Owner:

In its initial stages, the company will staff a small number of people to be able to sufficiently cater to the various functions that the business requires to be performed. The company’s factory may employ 3 electrical engineers who will aid in the research and development of the products and guide factory operations. The company will also employ two graphic designers who will create the designs printed upon the exteriors of the products. The factory will be run by approximately 20 workers who will produce the products required for the three outlets. Supervision will be required for the workers which means that two experienced managers will also be hired in order to supervise operations.

The company’s logistics network will be set up via trucks which will transport the finished products to the three outlets of Braze. The company will initially rent three trucks and hire four drivers to transport the products to the required outlets. The extra driver will be employed to cater to emergency situations and the drivers will be required to work on a rotational basis in order to ensure reliability in the delivery and transport process.

Braze’s outlets will require three salespeople each and one manager for each outlet initially to cater to inventory management, sales, and outlet maintenance. The skills required for the salespeople will include a high level of persuasive ability, excellent communication and management skills, high levels of creativity in order to help in putting products on display and presenting them in front of customers in a unique manner. Moreover, the salespeople will be required to have a pleasant personality and will preferably have degrees in communication and/or marketing.

The managers employed in the outlets will be required to have experience amounting to approximately 3-5 years and have degrees in management, leadership, marketing, or other business disciplines. The owner of the business, being an electrical engineer, will aid the production process with fresh ideas and will work in collaboration with the other employed electrical engineers to create innovative products and attempt to re-design products frequently in order to remain in coordination with customer demands. The owner will also facilitate operations by supervising the outlets on a rotational basis and ensuring that the brand is being promoted appropriately and keeping any potential problems in check.

The company will also additionally need to hire an accountant and make use of a cleaning service once a week in order to keep its outlets clean and presentable for customers.

Company’s Future Plans:

The company’s future plans will consist of expanding the business within other areas of the United Kingdom. The company will initially aim to expand its outlets within Wales and Scotland and will also open outlets in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sheffield, and other areas. The company will also aim to increase its research and development investment and try to make a breakthrough invention in the market and be the pioneer introducer of a new product. This will eventually enable the company to grow in size and capture a larger percentage of the electronics market.

Further, the firm will also plan to purchase its outlets and factory area in order to reduce its monthly costs and to increase the value of its fixed assets. The company may choose to raise finance for this expansion through bank loans and/or by adding partners to the business and converting it into a partnership or a private limited company.

Within about ten years time the company may aim to go international and may expand into the areas of Ireland and Europe. The company’s initial targets may be France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany before it attempts to expand into other markets of Europe. The company will then aim to target the markets of the USA and Canada followed by the markets of Asia. Braze will also have to expand its staff and employ more experienced and competent managers who can handle international operations.

Conclusion:

Braze is a small British electrical company which aims to differentiate itself from its competitors on the basis of providing them with personalized, colourfully designed electronic products which are likely to appeal to their aesthetic sense and are likely to attract fun-loving style conscious customers who appreciate brightly coloured products. The company initially aims to enter the market with a small factory area located in the suburbs of London or Birmingham and three outlets ideally situated in mall areas of London, Birmingham, and Manchester.

Braze aims to cater to the tastes of fashion-conscious, young and middle-aged customers who would like electrical appliances which can add a sense of style to their home decoration or their accessories because of their unique colours and designs. The company aims to initially rent all of its premises and employ a small number of employees. The company’s initial marketing strategy will be based upon promoting the products via demonstrations and through pamphlets distributed in the homes of potential customers, radio, billboards, and magazines. Later on, once the company stabilizes itself, it will aim to expand into other markets of Europe, USA and Canada, and then later on pursue the markets of Asia.

References

Amazon (2014) Nobel Televisions. [online] Accessed on January 4, 2014 Available at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Televisions-Sound-Vision-Projectors/b?ie=UTF8&node=560864

Amazon (2014) Samsung Televisions. [online] Accessed on: January 5, 2014 Available at: http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-UN40EH5300-40-Inch-1080p-Black/dp/B0074FGR74

Amazon (2014) Sony Televisions. [online] Accessed on: January 5, 2014 Available at: http://www.amazon.com/Sony-SGPT111US-Wi-Fi-Tablet-16GB/dp/B005FXYJZY

Business Insider (2014) Samsung Corporate Strategy. [online] Accessed on January 3, 2014 Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/samsung-corporate-strategy-2013-3

Gumtree (2014) Birmingham Rental Rates. [online] Accessed on January 4, 2014 Available at: http://www.gumtree.com/

Gumtree (2014) London Rental Rates. [online] Accessed on January 3, 2014 Available at: http://www.gumtree.com/

Gumtree (2014) Manchester Rental Rates. [online] Accessed on January 4, 2014 Available at: http://www.gumtree.com/

MIT Technology Review (2013) Sony. [online] Accessed on January 4, 2014 Available at: http://www.technologyreview.com/article/416848/sony/

Tidd, J., & Bessant, J. (2011). Managing innovation: integrating technological, market and organizational change. Wiley. com.

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Critical Success Factors for Project Success in an International LNG Company Operating in a Developing Country: An Action Research Study of Nigeria LNG Limited

Abstract:

Critical success factors in project management tend to vary from industry to industry and also tend to vary between countries. Opposed to previous practices of adopting the Iron Triangle of cost, quality, and time, critical success factors have increased to include aspects such as leadership, teamwork, setting realistic targets, and sustainability. While the increase in critical success factors for a project means additional costs, many firms which are involved in environmentally hazardous practices may not pursue such critical success factors.

Thus, this study seeks to explore the critical success factors implemented in Nigeria LNG Limited and seeks to compare and contrast these success factors with international standards in developed countries. This study may provide valuable insight into best practices and may also provide project managers in Nigeria or elsewhere with information regarding better project optimization and success techniques amongst other benefits.

1.Introduction:

Project management is a highly dynamic and complex discipline which requires extensive planning, coordination, and the appropriate management of critical success factors (Pinto & Slevin, 1987). While the project manager has immense responsibility in implementing appropriate strategies to ensure project success, this is often a highly difficult task as approximately 42-47% of projects are successful while others fail (Siguroarson, 2009). However, figures may vary from industry to industry.

Accordingly, critical success factors also vary from project to project. However, project management is often governed by what is termed as the Iron triangle of cost, time, and quality (Pinto & Prescott, 1988). Over the years and with the evolution of project management concepts, project management has become a multidimensional framework which includes other critical success factors such as teamwork, leadership, communication, and ethics, including sustainability (Atkinson, 1999). However, increasing critical success factors can add to the cost of the project and while it is often considered necessary for companies such as liquid and gas companies to implement ethical standards, this is often not practiced in developing countries (Jha & Iyer, 2007).

As the critical success factors of each project vary, the motivation and rationale for this study lies in examining the difference between critical success factors in project management in a developing country such as Nigeria against traditional international standards. Projects carried out in the liquid and gas industry may have severe environmental implications for the area, but project management may not be carried out in an ideal manner with little emphasis upon ethical standards or other key areas which may optimize the project outcome (Kerzner, 2013).

Hence, this study will provide particular insight into the critical success factors considered in LNG Limited in a developing country such as Nigeria and may provide professional knowledge regarding better ways of project optimization and project success if it is found that projects are not properly implemented. Moreover, it will provide insight into the various practices of project management in a country such as Nigeria, as there is not an extant of literature available paying particular attention to this country. This study may provide professional knowledge and best practice for project managers in LNG Limited in Nigeria, project managers who wish to conduct projects in Nigeria, or project managers in other countries.

1.1 Research Objectives:

To understand the specific project factors that determine project success in different project phases in Nigeria LNG Limited
To analyze the environmental factors that determine success in Nigeria LNG Limited
To understand the similarities and differences in critical project success factors between Nigeria and traditional international practices (developed countries)
To determine best practice and suggest better strategies for project optimization and success

1.2 Research Questions:

Main Research Question: Which specific project factors determine project success in different project phases in Nigeria LNG Limited?

Subsidiary Questions:

Which environmental factors determine success in Nigeria LNG Limited
What are the similarities and differences in critical success factors for project management in Nigeria and international standards (developed countries)
What are the best practices of project management in Nigeria and how can project optimization be improved
2. Conceptual Framework:

There is an extant of literature available upon the topic of project management and various researchers have devised their own framework of critical success factors. Siguroarson (2009) mentions that most of the research conducted upon project success is based upon the project management theory and the concept of the Iron Triangle of cost, time, and quality. However, over the decades concepts have evolved and included many other factors which include leadership, communication, setting realistic targets, and many others (Pattanayak, Wunder, & Ferraro, 2010). Moreover, with the growing concern for the environment, concepts of corporate social responsibility and the implementation of sustainability principles have emerged which are often considered critical success factors for businesses which have severe implications for the environment such as the liquid and gas industry (Naude, 2010).

However, it is often found that corporations who can avoid the implementation of the theory of sustainability may focus upon other factors in project management, and this may exceptionally be prevalent in developing countries such as Nigeria. Moreover, the determination of critical success factors depends upon the project manager’s skills, education, experience, tradition, and many other factors (Ahsan & Gunawan, 2010).

Based upon previous research, this study will develop in the light of concepts such as the project management theory, Iron Triangle, theory of corporate social responsibility, sustainability principles, and other relevant theories in order to properly explore the topic.

3. Research Methodology:

As there is not an extant of literature available upon Nigeria LNG Limited, the study is designed to be exploratory in nature. Accordingly, the study will adopt a qualitative data collection method and will focus upon primary research. The study will use an open-ended questionnaire regarding the critical success factors used in LNG Limited as the data collection tool and will direct them at a sample which will later be chosen according to appropriateness. The conduction of primary research is essential because of the specific nature of the study and because no previous literature is available in the context of Nigeria LNG Limited. Moreover, using an open-ended questionnaire will allow the gathering of maximum information while reducing elements of interviewer bias or excessive chances of misinterpretation which may occur in a verbal/telephonic interview. Moreover, using a questionnaire will also increase feasibility and convenience for the researcher and the respondents as the questionnaire can be dispersed through email or through online survey tools.

Data will be analyzed or measured using content analysis and based upon the researcher’s understanding of the information presented by respondents and information he/she gathered through literature. This research design best fits the purpose of the study and allows the gathering of in-depth information (Saunders et al, 2011). However, it has the limitations of including possible elements of researcher bias and respondent bias which may exist within the gathering of qualitative data.

4. Study Implications:

As the list of potential critical success factors is increasing over the years, this study may provide valuable insight into new critical success factors or new implementation strategies adopted in developing countries or Nigeria specifically. Thus, it may provide project managers all over the world or in Nigeria in particular with information regarding best practices, improvements in project optimization, and the implementation of better sustainability principles, amongst other things. Thus, it can result in the development and implementation of better project management strategies and derision of appropriate critical success factors. Accordingly, this study can provide valuable information for project managers regarding project management and may also increase the scope for Nigeria as a potential project conduction site. Moreover, the study will also be beneficial for academics and will be a valuable addition to the existing literature upon project management.

Feasibility:

The researcher has ample access to potential respondents from the study and the time period allocated is sufficient for the compilation and analysis of data.

6. Timescale:
Reading and Evaluating Relevant LiteratureAugust 2013- October 2013
Developing First Draft of Literature ReviewOctober 2013-November 2013
Drafting Questionnaire and Selecting/Contacting SampleNovember 2013-February 2014
Conducting Primary Research and Gathering ResultsMarch 2014-April 2014
Analyzing Data and Writing First Draft of FindingsApril 2014-June 2014
Completing and Finalizing Previous Portions of Thesis Based on Supervisor FeedbackJune 2014-July 2014
ProofreadingJuly 2014-August 2014

References
Ahsan, K., & Gunawan, I. (2010). “Analysis of cost and schedule performance of international development projects.”International Journal of Project Management. Vol. 28(1) pp. 68-78.
Atkinson, R. (1999) “Project management: cost, time and quality, two best guesses and a phenomenon, its time to accept other success criteria” .International Journal of Project Management. Vol.17(6) pp.337-342.
Jha, K. N., & Iyer, K. C. (2007) “Commitment, coordination, competence and the iron triangle.”International Journal of Project Management. Vol.25(5) pp.527-540
Kerzner, H. R. (2013).Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. Wiley.
Naude, W. (2010). “Entrepreneurship, developing countries, and development economics: new approaches and insights.”Small Business Economics. Vol. 34(1) pp. 1-12.
Pattanayak, S. K., Wunder, S., & Ferraro, P. J. (2010). “Show me the money: Do payments supply environmental services in developing countries?.”Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. Vol.4 (2) pp.254-274.
Pinto, J. K., & Prescott, J. E. (1988) “Variations in critical success factors over the stages in the project life cycle.”Journal of management. Vol.14 (1) pp.5-18.
Pinto, J. K., & Slevin, D. P. (1987) “Critical factors in successful project implementation.”Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions. Vol. 1 pp. 22-27.
Saunders, M. N., Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2011).Research Methods For Business Students, 5/e. Pearson Education India.
Siguroarson, S. (2009) “Critical Success Factors in Project Management” University of Iceland. Masters Thesis.

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Critical evaluation of a research article

Introduction

This work presents a critical evaluation of the research article entitled, ‘How traumatic is breast cancerPost-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and risk factors for severe PTSS at 3 and 15 months after surgery in a nationwide cohort of Danish women treated for primary breast cancer’, written by O’Connor et al. and published in 2011 in the British Journal of Cancer, volume 104, pages 419-426. The evaluation provides a description of the aims, findings and arguments put forward in the article, a critical appraisal of the issues, theories and concepts included in the article and an assessment of the sources of information used in the article.

The title of the article – How traumatic is breast cancerPost-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and risk factors for severe PTSS at 3 and 15 months after surgery in a nationwide cohort of Danish women treated for primary breast cancer – is an accurate representation of what is included in the article, as the article, indeed, talks about PTSS and risk factors for severe PTSS in Danish women treated for primary breast cancer. The title is a very accurate description of what is included in the article.

The aim of the article is clear: as noted in the abstract for the article, the stated aim of O’Connor et al. (2011; 419) was to, “…explore the prevalence of and risk factors for cancer-related PTSS in a nationwide inception cohort of women treated for primary breast cancer”. The clarity of the aim, coupled with the clear and accurately descriptive title, allows the reader of the article to orient themselves as to what the authors will be discussing in the body of the article. It is easy for the reader to feel that the authors ha a clear idea of what their research was, where it fits in the body of research and literature in this subject and, on this basis, how they would carry their research out.

The objectives of the article are made not made so clear by the authors, but it can be understood, from the very clear stated aim, that the objective of the article was to determine what the prevalence and risk factors are for PTSS in primary breast cancer survivors in Denmark. In terms of the rationale for the study, the authors make clear, in the first sentence of the abstract, that the literature in this area, whilst extensive, is not concurrent, in that there are variations, across the reports in the research, as to the prevalence of PTSS in women living with and recovering from breast cancer. The rationale of the O’Connor et al. (2011) study was, therefore, to add to the literature in this area with a definitive study of PTSS, and its risk factors, in a sample of Danish women.

A search of PubMed, for example, using the search terms ‘breast cancer PTSS’ returns five results: the O’Connor et al. (2011) article; an article by Andersen et al. (2008) looking at the search for sense in breast cancer survivors with low quality of life; an article by Morrill et al. (2008) looking at the interaction of post-traumatic growth and PTSS on the presence of depression in breast cancer survivors; an article by Tjemsland et al. (1998) looking at PTSS in breast cancer survivors one year after surgery; and the fifth and final article which is not relevant to the topic. It is clear, therefore, that the rationale for the study is valid: there are, indeed, few published articles looking at the specific research topic proposed by O’Connor et al. (2011).

In terms of the sample and data collection, as O’Connor et al. (2011) note, the sample for the research was 4917 women from Denmark, aged between 18 and 70, all of whom had been diagnosed with, and were recovering from, primary breast cancer and who had undergone surgery for their breast cancer during a very specific time period, namely October 2001 and March 2004. In terms of the inclusion criteria for the sample, it was important that all women included had no history of other cancers and that the women could read and write in Danish (to ensure that they fully understood, and could respond to, the questionnaire used to collect the data). It is important to note that all women selected for inclusion in the O’Connor et al. (2011) research were breast cancer free at the time of the data collection.

The women’s medical histories were checked and only women treated via the same treatment modality, namely the standardised guidelines as set out in the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group, were included in the sample used in the research. This was to ensure that the women had all received the same treatment, at the same time, to ensure that any potential bias was reduced. Bias could have been introduced, for example, if the women selected for study had been in recovery for longer or if the women had all received different treatment modalities or if the women was still living with breast cancer: by selecting women on the basis of a certain date for the surgery, and a certain treatment modality, and by applying the strict inclusion criteria, the researchers minimised the potential effects of bias, ensuring as high a possible validity and reliability for the results found (Gerrish and Lacey, 2010).

As Roberts et al. (2006) note, “…reliability and viability are ways of demonstrating and communicating the rigour of research processes and the trustworthiness of research findings”. For research to be helpful, the research process and the results reported need to be as clear and transparent as possible: misleading information will cause the reader to doubt the research process and, therefore, the validity of the results reported. As Roberts et al. (2006) suggest, the trustworthiness of a research article depends on many factors including the research question posed, the initial research question, the ways in which the data is collected, the ways in which the data is analysed and the conclusions that are drawn from the findings presented (see, also, Cormack, 2000). At the moment, on the basis of the research question posed and the data collection methods, the O’Connor et al. (2011) seems to be trustworthy and, therefore, reliable. Reliability, in this context, can be understood as the degree to which a particular set up can, “…produce similar results in different circumstances, assuming nothing else has changed” (Roberts et al., 2006).

Regarding the data collection method, O’Connor et al. (2011) utilised a mailed-out questionnaire to obtain data from the sample of women regarding their post-traumatic stress symptoms, as measured using the IES, which is utilised widely in the literature as a measure of PTSS, given the strong correlations in interviews between IES scores and clinical diagnoses of PTSS. Additional covariates were gathered from the women via the questionnaire, including demographic and socioeconomic variables such as age, marital status, number of children, income, educational level, social status and net wealth, amongst other variables (O’Conner et al, 2011). These variables were collected in order to test, statistically, the relationships between the degree of PTSS found in the patients and all of the variables, to see if there were any pervasive links between the presence of PTSS and any particular variable. It could be, for example, that a patient’s age predisposes them to be more likely to experience PTSS following surgery for breast cancer, or that the person’s educational attainment affects their likelihood of experiencing PTSS. It was important, therefore, that O’Connor et al. (2011) controlled for all potentially confounding variables, in order to be sure that any relationship found between the presence of PTSS and the most probable risk factors were actually true and not simply an artefact of the data collection method (Black, 1999).

In terms of the data analysis, the data analysis was conducted using non-parametric tests, namely Mann-Whitney or Kruskal-Wallis (O’Connor et al., 2011). Comparisons between the independent variables and the PTSS score, as measured via the IES, were conducted using chi-squared tests. Adjusted analyses were conducted using logistic regressions with PTSS being the dependent variable (O’Connor et al., 2011). The results found were reported as adjusted odds ratios (O’Connor et al., 2011). It can be seen, therefore, that the statistical tests used were appropriate for the type of data collected: the use of non-parametric tests, for example, was appropriate, given the fact that the variances were found to differ markedly amongst respondents (Bryman and Cramer, 1990). The use of the chi-squared test in this case is also appropriate, as discussed in Siegel (1957), given the fact that all participants were independent and that frequency data was collected from the participants via the questionnaire. Overall, then, the selection and use of the statistical tests to analyse the data were appropriate, giving confidence that the data analysis was conducted appropriately and that the results found from the analyses are reliable.

Regarding the interpretation of the results and the main findings of the article, around 20% of the women surveyed exhibited PTSS at 3 months after surgery, reducing to around 14% at 15 months following the surgery (O’Connor et al., 2011). Regarding the predictors of PTSS in women surviving breast cancer, the presence of severe PTSS was related to older age at 3 months post-surgery. Being a mother of small children also increased a woman’s chances of developing PTSS following their surgery. The data analysis also found that several socioeconomic variables were also strong predictors of PTSS: education, occupational status, personal income and household net wealth (O’Connor et al., 2011). Higher educational attainment was strongly related to a reduced chance of developing PTSS. It is clear, then, that there are various factors that are related to a woman’s chance of developing PTSS following surgery for primary breast cancer.

In terms of whether the article makes any contribution to the field of health psychology, it is clear from the article that there are various factors that are related to a woman’s chance of developing PTSS following surgery for primary breast cancer. Given the strong link between these factors and the development of PTSS, there is an argument to be made that women patients with breast cancer who have such risk factors should be offered counselling pre- and post-surgery in order to be able to help to mitigate the risk factors and help these women to avoid developing PTSS.

Regarding the conclusion of the article, in terms of whether the conclusions drawn are justified, as has been discussed in the critique of the article, the authors took every precaution possible to ensure that the sample selection and data collection were designed in such a way that the risk of bias was minimised, this increasing the reliability and validity of the findings, and conclusions, presented in the article. This means that the conclusions drawn are not only justified, in terms of the aim of the article, but also that the conclusions from the article can be considered robust and, therefore, trustworthy. The significance of the article, in terms of the contribution it makes to knowledge in this area is great. As O’Connor et al. (2011) themselves note, this is the first article to look at the prevalence of, and risk factors for, PTSS in breast cancer survivors. Additionally, given the large sample size of the article and the rigour of the data collection and data analysis, the results obtained can be argued to be very robust (Creswell, 2008) and, therefore, of high reliability.

Regarding the extent to which people who have experienced breast cancer might be helped by the findings of the article, as O’Connor et al. (2011) note, breast cancer and surviving breast cancer is a highly traumatic experience for women. Knowing what factors cause women to experience greater levels of trauma post-surgery is very useful as this knowledge can be used to target those women at greater risk of suffering PTSS and, equipped with this knowledge, delivering counselling to these women to ensure that their risk of developing PTSS is lessened. As O’Connor et al. (2011) suggest, to have this knowledge is akin to being forewarned: pre-emptive measures can be taken to mitigate the potential negative effects of the risk factors and to reduce the chance of women at risk of developing PTSS. In general terms, then, the article – if its findings were transmitted through the general media – would be helpful to women as women could, if they were at risk of developing PTSS following surgery, seek help themselves from their medical team. As PTSS has been linked to depression and other psychiatric problems in breast cancer survivors (Morrill et al., 2008), any preventative measures that could be offered to such women would help save them from further trauma and help them to live with a better quality of life (Andersen et al., 2008).

References

Andersen, M.R. et al. (2008). Frequent search for sense by long-term breast cancer survivors associated with reduced HRQOL. Womens Health 47, 19-37.

Black, T.R. (1999). Doing quantitative research in the social sciences. Sage.

Bryman, A. and Cramer, D. (1990). Quantitative data analysis for social scientists. Taylor Francis.

Cormack, D. (2000). The research process in nursing. Blackwell.

Creswell, J.W. (2008). Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Sage.

Gerrish, K. and Lacey, A. (2010). The research process in nursing. Wiley.

Morrill, E.F. et al. (2008). The interaction of post-traumatic growth and post-traumatic stress symptoms in predicting depressive symptoms and quality of life. Psychooncology 17, 948-953.

Roberts, P. et al. (2006). Reliability and validity in research. Nursing Standard 20, 41-45.

Siegel, S. (1957). Nonparametric statistics. The American Statistician 11, 13-19.

Tjemsland, L. et al. (1998). Posttraumatic distress symptoms in operable breast cancer III: status one year after surgery. Breast Cancer 47, 141-151.

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Free Essays

Analysis of two published articles on research with children and young people

Summary of Main Argument

The article by Pimlott-Wilson (2012) focuses on the use of visual and play-based activities as a method of social science research with children and young people. Three case studies are presented within the article with each case study describing a different visual method. Lego Duplo toys were used by children to create a model of their own homes and to enact the roles of the different people within their home. An activity entitled ‘Rainbows and Clouds’ was used to allow children to express both the positive and negative feelings regarding their parents’ unemployment, and finally, mood-boards were used to allow children and young people to explore feelings about various experiences. Each visual method of research is claimed to be a useful and valid way of letting young people and children express their feelings and experiences. The relevance of our visual sense is discussed in the introduction and its importance in expressing ourselves is explored, for example through the medium of photography. A recent move away from seeing young people and children as subjects to be observed and interpreted at a distance, toward seeing them as subjects to work with and alongside is also discussed, a move that has allowed a more valid reflection of their real life experiences. The article concludes that visual research methods are able to improve the research process with young people and children and increase the ecological validity of such research as the young participants are more able to express their thoughts and feelings.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Research Methods Discussed

The article by Pimlott-Wilson (2012) examines the usefulness of three different visual research methods all of which have both strengths and weaknesses. A key strength of all three of the visual research methods discussed in the article is their ability to give children and young people, who may struggle with verbal expression an opportunity to fully express themselves in a less pressurised way. Pimlott-Wilson (2012) also argues that the methods can overcome difficulties that children may have expressing themselves if their drawing skills are poor. It has been argued that un-reliable and poor data provided by children and young people is often the fault of the adult researchers who tend to treat children in an ‘adult-ist’ way, perhaps through intimidation or subjectivity in the interpretation of results (Alderson, 1995). The use of more child-friendly methods in the research described by Pimlott-Wilson (2012) allowed children to express themselves in a more familiar and comfortable way thus limiting the power gap between child and researcher and fostering a more collaborative relationship, a key strength in research with children and young people that has been advocated by Robinson and Gillies (2012). This more child-friendly approach also reduced the need for subjectivity in interpreting results. A child or young person who feels more comfortable and able to express their true thoughts, feelings and experiences is likely to produce a clearer and easier to interpret product because they are able to be more open and honest. In turn, this gives the study good content validity. However, it should be noted that some children expressed worry about parents or carers seeing what had been written during the ‘Rainbows and Clouds’ activity. Therefore, in order to maximise these research methods’ abilities to make children and young people feel at ease, issues of confidentiality must be fully addressed.

Despite the noted strengths of the research methods discussed, there are also a number of weaknesses that should be highlights. A key weakness of the research method using Lego Duplo toys is unknowingly identified by the author herself early on in the text when it is noted that the toy is an important cultural experience for Western children. This limits both the generalisability of any findings made through the use of Lego Duplo toys as well as the usefulness of the method with non-Western cultures. Furthermore, as is pointed out by the author, the use of Lego Duplo toys as a visual research method creates a blurry line between where a real life representation ends and a child’s imagination begins.

Secondly, the research methods used appear quite time consuming and engaging young children especially can be challenging over a long period of time. Children or young people can become easily bored and may begin to fabricate answers. Furthermore, each visual research method discussed would require a reasonably detailed explanation of both the activity and what is required of the child. This could become extremely limiting when trying to use these types of research methods with children with communication disorders. This refutes that author’s argument that the methods are ideal for using with children who struggle with verbal communication.

Task B

Summary of Main Argument

This article is a book review of “Children caring for parents with HIV and AIDS: Global issues and policy responses” by Evans and Becker (2009). The book discusses a comparative research project carried out in both the UK and Tanzania, which explored the global issues and policies surrounding the role of young people caring for parents diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. Robson (2009) critically evaluates the book and identifies the key strengths and limitations of both the study that was carried out and the subsequent book. The result is a short summary and review of the book that evaluates each chapter in its own right. The key strengths identified include a thorough and concise literature review and the clear lay-out of the book. The key limitations of the book identified by Robson (2009) include a somewhat misleading book title. Although the title suggests that the study investigated children caring for parents, in reality only children caring for mothers or female guardians were included. Overall, the main argument of the article is in favour of the study reported by Evans and Becker (2009). Robson (2009) concludes that the book provides “the most substantial research on children caring for adults with HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa to date,” and could be used to make valuable contributions to policies regarding young carers.

Ethical Considerations

There are a number of ethical considerations discussed by Robson (2009) regarding the study by Evans and Becker (2009). Firstly, Robson (2009) highlights Evans and Becker’s (2009) admittance that their sample “cannot be seen as representative of young people with caring responsibilities in families affected by HIV and AIDS across Tanzania and the UK.” Knowingly carrying out research with children that will be limited in its generalisability and contribution to improving the lives of such children could be argued to be unethical. Robson (2009) also notes that Evans and Becker (2009) fail to include a key text by Lather and Smithies (1997). Combined with a lack of generalisability, this has potential ethical implications as failure to review all the relevant literature for their topic may have led the authors to make un-sound policy recommendations. It is unclear from the Robson (2009) review whether the authors did so but it will have been essential for the authors to make it clear in any recommendations can be applied to children providing care for female relatives only.

Beazley et al. (2009) advocate a rights-based approach when carrying out research with children. Such an approach views children as subjects and not just objects of research. The authors further argue that academic theories can often be ‘disconnected’ from the real life experiences of children because they are generated and developed through the eyes of adults. Although Robson (2009) does not provide details about the methods used by Evans and Becker (2009) it appears as though the information gathered may have been through observation or inference. For example, Robson (2009) notes that chapters six and seven of the book detail how the children’s carer roles impact on themselves, their families, their schools and communities, a topic that would be challenging for many children to grasp and to answer. Therefore, it seems likely that Evans and Becker (2009) did not respect children’s right to be properly researched and as a result, may not have gained a true reflection of the lives of these children or the support that they really require.

Another ethical consideration discussed by Robson (2009) is the way in which participants were recruited for the study. All participants were recruited through non-government and statutory support organisations meaning that they were all receiving some kind of support. It could be argued that this was an unethical method of recruitment as through neglecting to find and research children and families without support, the authors were also neglecting to increase the awareness of support for children in such situations. It is also unclear as to the how consent was gained and whether it was made clear to the children involved that they were free to stop participation at any time, an important research element when working with children referred to as informed dissent (Ennew and Plateau, 2004). Despite these ethical considerations, overall Robson (2009) paints a picture of an ethically sound study commenting that the study by Evans and Becker (2009) used an “ethically sensitive participatory methodology.” However, there are no details given as to why Robson (2009) makes this statement.

References

Alderson, P. (1995) Listening to Children: Children, Ethics and Social Research. Ilford: Barnado’s.

Beazley, H., Bessell, S., Ennew, J. and Waterson, R. (2009) The right to be properly researched: research with children in a messy, real world. Children’s Geographies, 7(4), pp. 365-378.

Ennew, J. and Plateau, D.P. (2004) How to research the physical and emotional punishment of children. Bangkok: International Save the Children Southeast, East Asia and Pacific Region Alliance.

Evan, R. and Becker, S. (2009) Children caring for parents with HIV and AIDS: global issues and policy responses. Bristol: Policy Press.

Lather, P. and Smithies, C. (1997) Troubling the angels: women living with HIV/AIDS. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Robson, E. (2009) Children caring for parents with HIV and AIDS: global issues and policy responses. Children’s Geographies, 7(4), pp. 487-488.

Robinson, Y. and Gillies, V. (2012) Introduction: developing creative methods with children and young people. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 15(2), pp. 87-89.