The major reason as to why the researcher took the initiative of conducting this research was to establish the manner in which the hotel chains support their product differentiation through the use of marketing as well as social media. The exploration of hotel chains’ marketing approaches in a strategic management context and the establishment of factors that do influence marketing policy of the hotel chains were also part of the research objective (Ethridge 1995, p. 67). For the purpose of obtaining answers to the study objectives, the researcher saw it necessary to assess the views of the employees of the respective hotels, who worked in the human resource management docket. To be precise, there were a total of 60 respondents from three companies, that is; 20 from McDonald’s, 20 from Twitters and 20 from Kansas Hotels. To come up with this research sample, a random selection approach was used. Survey questionnaires were distributed to the study participants with the aim of collecting the relevant data, and as such, the respondents were supposed to fill them. These questionnaires were structured in a Likert format. Through this research instrument, the researcher collected the relevant and necessary data. He then computed it, and as such, it became easier to interpret it. In an effort towards increasing the authenticity and support the survey results, secondary resources such as print articles as well as literatures were used alongside the primary data (Kumar 2011, p. 83).
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This study utilized a descriptive method. This type of method, according to Creswell (2003, p. 55), is ideal when used in a study as it gathers information regarding the conditions that are presently existing. In this method, the described approach is underscored rather than the judgment or interpretation approach. In descriptive research, the objective emphasized by the method is the verification of the formulated hypothesis, which precisely refers to the existing situation in an effort towards elucidating the hypothesis. One of the advantages of using a descriptive method in a research study is that it is practical considering financial forego. In addition to this, the descriptive research method incorporates a flexible approach. To elaborate this further, when new vital issues, as well as questions, surface during the course of a research study, a researcher, is able to conduct further investigations pertaining to these issues and questions (Kothari 2008, p. 67).
On its part, descriptive research is a term commonly used in research to define a type of a research study where the main concern is the description of nature as well as the degree of the existing situation at the time the study is being conducted. This description of descriptive research is usually detailed. Considering this method, it is established in the scholarly articles that; it is necessary that the researcher makes clear description regarding the nature of the present situation. In addition to this, the causes, as well as the effects of a certain phenomenon, are explored intensively. The essential thing that the researcher should consider when using this type of research is that; he must have a clear view as well as an understanding of phenomena, which is being investigated before the commencement of the data collection procedure (Ethridge 1995, p. 72).
In this research study, the researcher made use of descriptive research in order to obtain first-hand information forming the participants of the study. The rationale for doing this is that the researcher intended to formulate worthwhile, valid and qualified conclusions as well as recommendations for the research study.
The descriptive research method was employed in this research study. This is because, the researcher saw it as the ideal method, which would lead to the identification of the role as well as the significance of utilizing personality questionnaires during both the recruitment as well as the selection of the employees during the course of conducting the research. Further, the researcher opted to take this research method into account due to the nature of the research objectives, and as such, he had to obtain first-hand data from the participants of the research study (Kothari 2008, p. 69). To the researcher, this research method offered the advantages of being flexible; that is; the researcher had the freedom to either use quantitative data or qualitative data. However, the researcher was not compromised, and therefore he also had the choice of using both. This flexibility is essential. As such, it presents greater options to the researcher when it comes to selecting the most viable tool to be used for data collection when the research study commences. The aim of this particular research is to establish the manner in which the hotel chains support their product differentiation through the use of marketing as well as social media and therefore, the descriptive method is the most ideal for this research as the prevailing conditions are gathered (Sekaran &Roger 2010).
The research is using the employees from the human resource management department from three companies from two different geographical regions that are; McDonald’s and Kansas hotels in New York; and Twitters in Germany, as respondents in an effort towards gathering the relevant information regarding the topic of the research study. This means that the descriptive research method; it allows the identification of both the similarities as well as the differences as exhibited by the answers of the questionnaires by the respondents. In this research, there were two kinds of data obtained, that is, primary as well as the secondary data. The primary data, which was to be used for the study, was obtained by taking the participant’s answers into consideration. On its part, the secondary data was derived from the print publications, which the researcher perceived as relevant to marketing questionnaires. By opting to blend the primary as well as the secondary data for the research, it signifies that the researcher was successful in obtaining the advantages of both qualitative as well as quantitative approaches to research. In addition to this, it signifies that the researcher was able to overcome the hurt limitations of using the two approaches (Creswell 2003, p. 60).
Quantification regarding the relationships exhibited by research variables is usually considered to be the basis of qualitative data collection methods. The instruments for gathering data in quantitative research are important and are majorly used due to their capabilities of establishing the relationships exhibited by measured variables. When a researcher employs the use of qualitative data collection instruments, he becomes detached from the study such that he cannot manipulate the data. This implies that the final output will not be attributed to context. According to Lucienne & Blessing (2009, p. 21), the main substance entailed in quantitative data collection instruments includes statistics, measurement as well as numerical data.
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When a researcher makes use of these instruments in his study, it is necessary that he gives a detailed description of the procedures involved, that is; data collection as well as data analysis procedures. An approach, which, according to Bergh &David (2009, p. 16), is primary deductive reasoning, there is a need that there are less complex explanations. In addition to this, there is a need to give a statistical probability in such an approach (Kothari 2008, p. 72). A quantitative approach to research is centred on detailed description pertaining to a specific phenomenon. Basically, a quantitative approach generalizes the data collected. As such, it incorporates tentative interpretations that have been synthesized.
Among the usefulness of a quantitative approach include; during the process of data collection and presentation, the researcher is able to avoid being biased. The procedures used in the quantitative collection of data are identified useful when the researcher wants to create epistemological postulations such as; reality is not only unitary but also objective. Moreover, the only way to realize this reality is through the transcending the perspective held by an individual. In turn, this kind of phenomena should not only be discussed but also explained through data analysis, which has been gathered by the use of objective measurement forms (Creswell 2003, p. 64).
Where there is a need in a research study to measure the cause as well as the effect of the relationships exhibited by both the discrete as well as the preselected variables, the quantitative gathering methods prove to be of great help. A quantitative approach to a research study aims at eliminating the possibility of there being subjectivity. One of the most acknowledged way that this approach ensures this is by the collection and exploration of the information, which, according to Creswell (2003, p. 64), describes the nature of experience, which is the subject of study.
When a researcher uses quantitative research methods, it is usually that; he will be able to establish very specific problems, and as such; it is to the benefit of the entire research study. The reliability of the collected research data is boosted when a researcher employs the use of research manipulation means in the qualitative method. Some of these means that a researcher can use includes; controlled observations as well as laboratory experiments. To be precise, judgment’s subjectivity is not needed in any particular discussion pertaining to a research thesis. Therefore, through the use of quantitative methods, the subjectivity can be avoided by the researcher. This means that conclusions, experimentations, as well as discussions, which have been involved in the research process, are more objective than subjective (Knutson & Bodensteiner 2011).
The variables used in a research study, which includes the dependent as well as the independent variables, are essential. This means that, in a quantitative research study, they are not only precise but also clearly specified. Furthermore, there is a provision made for longitudinal measures of participant’s subsequent performance in this type of research method. Lucienne & Blessing (2009, p. 29) made a worthwhile note when he indicated that the aim of researchers who make use of qualitative research method is to decode, describe analyze and eventually interpret the meaning of the phenomena at hand, which is happening in both social as well as customary context, in a more clear and precise way.
The researchers who conduct their research studies guided by the interpretive paradigm framework mainly tend to focus on the investigation of various aspects among them being authentic as well as the mutual subjectivity of not only the researcher but also of the research study participants. In addition to this, these researchers focus on reducing illusions (Knutson & Bodensteiner 2011).
Qualitative research approach exhibits contrary attributes. While quantitative research approach is known to generate verbal information, quantitative approach to research is known for generating numeric data. Further, rather than making use of statistical analysis, a qualitative approach to research uses either content or holistic analysis. Bergh &David (2009, p. 16), asserts that the use of holistic or content analysis uses inductive rather than deductive reasoning so as to enable a qualitative researcher not only explains but also understands the findings of the research. According to research conducted by Lucienne & Blessing (2009, p. 30), the main and dominant fact in the qualitative analysis is that the measurement entailed is qualified and valid. In addition to this, the measurement is also reliable. Therefore, a researcher can be able to generalize it with its clear cause in addition to the anticipation.
According to Kumar (2011, p. 83), quantitative method is deductive and particularistic, and as such, it is dependent on the research hypothesis formulation. In addition to this, due to these attributes, a quantitative research method can be confirmed using empirical methods while making use of a data set that is specific. According to the findings of a plethora of studies, there is no value held by the fact that the quantitative research method employs a scientific hypothesis. This means that the personal thoughts of the researcher biases as well as the subjective preferences, cannot be applied to this research method (Kothari 2008, p. 85).
Regarding this research study, the researcher decided to integrate the qualitative approach study. This is because; the qualitative approach has a significant number of advantages. One advantage of utilizing data collection methods, which are qualitative in nature, is; there is an allowance for change. Another advantage is that ideas can be refined during the course of the study conduction. The implication of this advantage is that the qualitative tools used for collecting data exhibit a high degree of flexibility. In addition to this implication, with this research method, there is no necessity of research setting manipulation (Gummesson 2001, p. 45). The qualitative data collection methods, rather than utilizing the diversified research controls including experimental approach, they tend to become centred on understanding the present phenomena as it occurred during the time the research was being conducted (Creswell 2003, p. 66).
Aside from the aforementioned advantage exhibited by using qualitative data collection tools, they are used by researchers due to the fact that the previous researchers had a belief that there is an aspect of attractiveness entailed in qualitative data since they output or provide not only rich and well-grounded explanations as well as descriptions but also unforeseen findings for construction of a new theory (Sekaran &Roger 2010).
Among the predominant strengths exhibited by qualitative research, instruments are; there is an evocation of a research setting’s feeling. As such, this feeling is considered to be more realistic. Moreover, it cannot be achieved when making use of statistical analysis. According to Creswell (2003, p. 67), data collection, analysis, as well as interpretation methods used in qualitative research signify that the researcher is flexible. Moreover, qualitative research method, according to Lucienne and Blessing (2009), allows the presentation of the phenomenon in a holistic perception.
Research study’s Participants
In an effort towards establishing the manner in which the hotel chains support their product differentiation through the use of marketing as well as social media, 60 respondents from three hotels were requested to participate in the study. In order to achieve pertinent information, there was the imposition of an exclusion criterion. As such, unless a person was a staff or an employee under the human resource wing of the respective hotels, he was not eligible (Lucienne & Blessing 2009). This qualification played a significant role in the research study as it ensured that the participants comprehended the nature of the marketing questionnaires in addition to their use. This, in turn, made the instruments used in the research study easy for the participants, therefore, favouring their effective accomplishment.
The 60 respondents, who were chosen to make up the study sample, came from three hotel companies. Therefore, a grand total of twenty employees from each hotel company were selected; as the researcher also had the objective of establishing the hotel chains’ marketing approaches in a strategic management context and the factors that influence marketing policy of the hotel chains, the researcher did not choose the hotel companies that are not listed as holding a significant market share in the hotel industry and those that only operate within a single region.
A simple and random sampling method was employed during the selection of the sample This kind of the sampling method is mostly used where each and every subject of the population have equal probabilities of being chosen to form part of the research study sample. This procedure is regarded as the most efficient due to the fact that every member of the population can become a part of the sample (Bergh &David 2009, p. 17).
Foremost, for this sampling strategy to be effectively conducted; he made a precise definition of t the targeted population. The researcher made a list of each and every member of the study population, and from this list; he selected the members of the research sample (Knutson & Bodensteiner 2011). With regard to this procedure, the lottery technique was made use of. According to scholarly articles, the lottery procedure involves selecting the subjects of the sample from the sampling frame in a random manner. In this method, random number tables are used. The researcher assigned numbers for each and every employee whose name appeared on the master list (Sekaran &Roger 2010). As such, these numbers were noted on identical pieces of papers. Later, these pieces were drawn from a box in a random manner. The researcher repeated this procedure until he reached the required sample size; that is, 60 participants.
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A survey questionnaire was utilized in the study, and as such, it served as the main data collection instrument for this research study (Ethridge 1995, p. 80). The general format of the research questionnaire was that it entailed two sections, that is, profile as well as the survey. With regards to the profile section, it was constituted of the respondent’s socio-demographic attributes (Gummesson 2001, p. 50). These included such aspects as gender as well as the period in which these respondents had served in the company and the position they had been holding. The proper survey section was meant to explore the participant’s perception with regard to the marketing questionnaire. Particularly, the reliability as well as usability as a data gathering tool was explored.
In addition to this, the section also contained questions that aim at identifying both the advantages as well as the disadvantages of using marketing questionnaires in the human resource department (Gummesson 2001, p. 55). The questionnaires were in Likert format. In such type of questionnaires, there are usually four choices provided for every research question. These choices represent the degree pertaining to the agreement that each respondent has with reference to the research question and as such, they play a significant role. Below is a scale that the researcher used in order to interpret the total responses gathered from all the research respondents with regard to each and every study question. The researcher computed the weighted mean of the responses and therefore deriving the weighted mean.
- 3.01 – 4.00 Strongly Agree
- 2.01 – 3.00 Agree
- 1.01 – 2.00 Disagree
- 0.00 – 1.00 Strongly Disagree
The reason why the selected questionnaire was in a Likert format was because; the participants of the study were able to easily and effectively answer the research questions. In addition to this, Likert formatted research questionnaires allowed the researcher to go ahead effectively with the adopted quantitative approach.
The researcher selected responses from ten participants and from these responses, it became easier to test the validity of the questionnaires used in the research study. The ten respondents as well as their answers to the given questionnaires did not form part of the research study. This is because; they were only used for testing the validity. Once the respondents had answered the questionnaires, the researcher made a request to the respondents to make any suggestions or even any corrections that they perceived to be necessary. This was essential as it would ensure that the data collection instrument would be further improved. Moreover, this would ensure that the questionnaires were valid. After these adjustments from the five respondents, the researcher refined the revised or added suggestions. The researcher then eliminated the irrelevant questionnaires as indicated by the respondents. In addition to this, the researcher also changed the terminologies that were being perceived as vague or difficult and which would change the objective of the questionnaires depending on the understanding of the respondents. As such, these jargons were replaced with simpler ones by the researcher. This was intended to enhance or facilitate comprehension (Kothari 2008, p. 87).
Data Processing and analysis
After recalling all the questionnaires distributed to the participants of the study, the researcher eliminated those that entailed errors. However, for those that contained minor errors, the researcher tried to correct them in a manner that would not manipulate the results. The researcher then obtained the totals of the responses pertaining to each item and then tabulated these totals.
The computation of weighted mean to represent each item in the questionnaire was done. This was essential as it is only through this computation that interpretation would be done using a Likert scale. For clarification, weighted mean represents an average. It is necessary that a corresponding weight be present sop that every quantity can be identified as an average. This weight identifies the significance that each weight brings to the average.
The total value is obtained through the addition of products derived from the multiplication. Further, the total weight can also be established through adding all the weights. The total value obtained is then calculated. This is usually done when the following formula is used;
This study required active participations of respondents drawn from a human population, especially from the hotel industry. Therefore, there were several ethical issues that had to be put into consideration and addressed. This consideration was essential since it ensured that both the privacy as well as the safety of the study participants was keenly observed. Consent as well as confidentiality was the major issues that had to be observed during the course of the study. In an effort towards securing the consent of the study sample subjects, that is the respondents, the researcher opted to relay the entire study details including the objectives as well as the purpose of the study (Ethridge 1995, p.83).
These details had to be precisely explained and as such, the explanation was essential as it enabled the respondents comprehend the significance of the role they played towards a successful completion of the research study. In addition to this, the researcher had to advise the participants of the study that they had an option of withdrawing from the study even before it was complete. This meant that the participants were not compelled to participate (Walsh 2003, p. 45).
Another issue observed was the participant’s involvement. The researcher ensured this by being very keen not to disclose any information pertaining to the research participants. One of the noble things that the researcher did towards the preservation of the confidentiality was opting not to disclose the name of the participants. In addition ton this, the researcher only included those details that he perceived to be helpful to the respondents when answering the questions Kumar (2011, p. 83),
Limitations of the study
Limitations of a study represent the attributes of a study methodology or study design responsible for setting parameters with regard to the application or even the interpretation of study results; that is, the constraints evident when generalizing as well as utilizing the findings, which are the result of research design instruments that deliver both the internal as well as the external validity Kumar (2011, p. 83).
In this research, the study was based on the data gathered from a truly representative sample of the hotel chains population. This allowed the researcher of this study to make generalizations about the manner in which all other hotel chains that were not included in the study, making postulations that the research sample is not only large enough but also randomly selected. If there was a finding in the study that difference in the manner in which hotel chains support their product differentiation through the use of marketing as well as social media were indeed predicted strongly by some specified cultural values as well as beliefs, the researcher was then allowed to make speculations that findings, which were similar to these, would be made from a study considering other hotel chains entailing similar cultural attributes. However, such an inference would be purely full of speculations.
However, the researcher could not establish generalizations of the strategic management trends in the next generation hotel chains. Certainly, it would be unwise for the researcher to draw conclusions from the data collected regarding the manner in which the hotel chains support their product differentiation through the use of marketing as well as social media.
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