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Management Research: Training and Development

Abstract

Management research is a complicated process requiring a plethora of sophisticated approaches and methods since this scientific investigation is connected both with the consideration of strategic principles (qualitative analysis) and statistical techniques (quantitative analysis). In that regard, the main purpose of our research proposal is to track the main principles and concepts applied to the research on training and development and to define which ones are the most relevant. The method implies the consideration of ethics in management research and concepts connected with training and development management. Preliminary results show that both types of research on learning and development include the use of a mixed type of analysis that is based on empirical data.

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Introduction

Six Main Attributes of Small-Scale Management Research Project

The main attributes of a management research project basically depend on the type of university a student studies at. In case you undertake your research on the basis of the study course then the most pivotal attribute involves the fulfillment of the requirements to the structural organization of the body and to the level of writing. In addition to this, it is necessary to check the assessment requirement for the research project in order to be sure that the proposed area for the research meets perfectly those criteria (Saunders et al., 2009, p. 24).

The second important attribute of the management research project is your abilities and talents appropriate for a particular scientific paper. A student should feel confident concerning his/her skills developed and required for the research topic and problem. This is especially important to define what research skills are necessary and which ones will be irrelevant. In addition, a student must express an extreme interest in the topic he/she plans to study, as a neutral topic can discourage studying it in detail.

Third, it is important for a student to find time and financial resources for undertaking research on a particular topic. The research may require attending different libraries and research centers to find the sources for the paper. A successful research process also involves the utilization of expensive equipment and specific software that should suit the research budget as well.

Fourth, each management research project should be based on the solid, theoretical ground. This means that your topic should be backed up with the theory relevant to a particular field of study. Therefore, one will definitely need to collect the necessary data and literature for defining the main aspects of your research project.

Fifth, the research project fulfillment requires a clear identification of the problems of the research. This is accomplished along with excellent command of the theoretical ground allowing students to assess the scale and the importance of their research project.

Finally, the project should include the main idea related to the objectives and problems mentioned previously. In addition, it is important for your topic to have “a symmetry of potential outcomes” (Gill and Johnson, 2009, p. 24).

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Proposed Area of the Research

Research Question

The field of training and development is considered to be the most researched area in management. In particular, this brunch of organizational management provokes a number of disputable issues in terms of its evaluation and costs required for the implementation of new strategies. Nevertheless, contemporary researches on this specific area are still accomplished with the help of various methods, the effectiveness of which is weakly defined due to many reasons (Sadler-Smith, 2006, p. 373).

Glaxo Smith Kline is a company that specializes in the production of medical equipment and medicines. Due to its respectable image and noble mission – “to improve the quality of life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer” – it pays special attention to training and development programs. In particular, Glaxo Smith Kline has introduced certain programs bettering employees’ motivation and volunteering for gaining necessary skills and for increasing their productivity (Developing our people, 2010, n. p.). The company has also provided programs via the internet to encourage employees all over the world.

However, there are no particular researches investigating the company’s potential and the effectiveness of its training and development programs. In addition to this, the company has schemes directed at productivity improvement, but it does not have specific researches that would justify the methods the company is implementing.

Research Objectives

Based on the above questions of the research, it is necessary to identify four main objectives for analysis of the company’s strategies on training and development. To begin with, it is necessary to find out the researches on learning and development and to define the main methods applied in the research. Second, a comparative analysis of the methodology, design, and data analysis techniques should be thoroughly examined to identify which ones are the most appropriate for the given research.

With regard to other researches, it is vital to detect which training and development programs have contributed to the improvement of productivity at Glaxo Smith Kline in order to define the main drawbacks of each program. The next objective to consider is the examination of the theoretical framework implemented to the scientific evaluation of the programs and the analysis of empirical devices required for outlining the statistical results. In particular, there is the necessity to define the group sample that will suit the given research. For this matter, it is proposed to use stratified sampling as it eliminates the errors of the research better than other types of sampling do.

Then, the problems highlighted in the research should be also tackled according to their relevance and validity. What is more important is that the outcomes of the research should also coincide with the initial goals of the research in the sphere of training and development.

Justification of Questions and Objectives with Theoretical, Practical, and Personal Concerns

Pertaining to theoretical concerns required for investigating the problem, it is first of all necessary to address the scope of qualitative and quantitative data analysis presented in the researches. According to Saunders et al. (2009), there are specific priorities necessary for the fulfillment of the main aspects of qualitative research. Hence, the primary issues include the consideration of social setting and its influence on the objectivity of the research.

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Then, the comprehension of the individual notions and terminology is an inherent aspect of scientific exploration. Finally, the research should enable the changes for participants of observation. One issue that is worth closer consideration is that qualitative research basically displays an approximate picture of the macro-level thus neglecting the micro-level issues. With regard to this, the examination of the main programs on training and development will be based on the implementation of qualitative analysis of the received data in combination with quantitative statistics.

While starting the research on management, it is necessary to strictly define the main parts and topics that are considered in the paper. At this point, Easterby-Smith et al. (2002) state that motivation issues are the most frequently appear research questions. They provide certain incentives among which are the aspiration for career growth and improvement of management skills. As our central management research is narrowed to the analysis of employees’ training and development in the pharmaceutics company, the implementation of interviews should approve the theoretical foundation of the research and define the drawbacks of the training and development policies, which are impossible to detect with the help of questionnaire.

Hence, according to Wood et al. (2006), the main merit of the interview is that they provide a higher rate of responsiveness rather than a questionnaire. This is why the researchers can obtain more informative answers from the individuals. Furthermore, the interviewer will have a chance to get more credible information since the research group is more interested in what they are going to say.

Gills and Johnson (2009) state that there are different targets and methods of management research depending on the type of objective. The investigation of methods and design of researches on training and development will help to understand which type of objective is used and which one corresponds best to its success. This is of paramount importance when touching upon the symmetry of potential outcomes that shows that “whatever the findings from the work, the results will be equally valuable” (p. 24.).

To sum it up, interviewing is planned to be the dominant empirical method in studying the level of productivity and the effectiveness of the implemented programs. In this respect, the list of the following questions proposed for the interview conduct is listed below:

  1. How would you assess the atmosphere in the company?
  2. Are there any things that you would like to change?
  3. What are the main factors motivating you to work harder and enthusiastically?
  4. Has the company provided effective methods for resolving the conflicts?
  5. What programs are the least relevant for the company and the personnel?

Principles of Ethics Management Research

During the research, the preservation of objectivity is vital while analyzing empirical data. That allows to accurately interpret the collected information. However, the success of the research does not depend on the ability to select which data conforms to the research and which one is not as this might fail the presentation of accurate statistical data (Saunders, 2009, p. 199).

Such questions as anonymity and confidentiality should be strictly observed while reporting the data. It also stated that it is also hard to preserve the assurance that has been provided. Nevertheless, the researcher should bear in mind that the conducted research can be used by a certain organization that can use his/her work for outlining some theoretical and practical characteristics. In order to avoid such a situation, it is crucial to follow the rule of confidentiality thus lessening the risk of conflicts within the organization.

Before resorting to our research proposal, it is vital to refer to ethical principles of management research, since management researchers frequently encounter ethical and moral dilemmas of different nature in compliance with those encountered by other researchers (Bell and Bryman, 2007). In particular, Bell and Bryman (2007) propose that the creation of the code of ethics on management research can highlight some alternative ways of thinking about the relationships in management research. In this regard, they put an emphasis on the motivational agenda to avoid the risk of encouragement of instrumental compliance involving the minimum of ethical obligations.

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In management research, there are frequent cases when methodological implementations are considered obligatory by the researchers in order to enhance the knowledge contradicting the social ethics or individual ethical commitment of the investigator. At this point, researchers can stick in limbo, since they do not know whether it is reasonable to follow the requirements of the research or to preserve their own self-respect (Thomas, 2004, p. 90).

The Application of Ethical Concerns for Research on Training and Development

Pertaining to Glaxo Smith Kline, the implementation of a three-dimensional program, involving technical expertise, behavior, and self-awareness should first involve human factors and provide the employees with a sound psychological atmosphere.

When considering the ethical issues on training and development, the researchers should be concerned with the analysis of the social environment and the objectivity of the chosen method for observation (Harrison, 2005).

The evaluation of motivation and interest is also the main purpose of numerous researches (Martocchio, 2003, p. 375). However, there is a scarce number of researches devoted to the main goals of learning and development and to the impact of managers and teachers on students’ requirements satisfaction (Ichniowski and Saw, 1999). Many researchers on training and development often apply specific equipment since the estimation of training and development requires implementing different software programs for calculating and estimating the reliability and validity of testing programs.

With regard to the methods and design of the research on training and development, a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods fit the investigation perfectly. Thus, qualitative methods are rather typical of research on management since it encourages the analysis of different moral, ethical, and behavior relations within an organization (Gummesson, 2000, p. 2). It is also worth saying that a case study is relevant for the research on training and development since the adaptation of statistical and calculating techniques cannot entirely fulfill the researchers’ objectives. Such a type of qualitative research is called action research – the method applied when examining particular cases (Gummesson, 2000, p. 3).

Referring to quantitative methods in management research, it is necessary to mention that data collection sometimes needs the implementation of this approach. However, the measures and testing are the most frequent ones for identifying the results of training and development programs. It should be also stressed that the empirical evaluation of the goals should be conducted with regard to universal precepts of ethics that will help to avoid ambiguity in the research.

The Analysis of Research Articles on Training and Development

In order to investigate the research question, we propose to analyze two peer-reviewed articles on training and development revealing the appropriate methods and design required for data analysis and identification of the results. Hence, the first article under consideration called A Novel Approach to Business Ethics Training: Improving Moral Reasoning in Just a Few Weeks provides research on change in moral reasoning among students aimed at fostering ethical reasoning skills (Jones, 2009). The second article called Non-Discrimination in Human Resources Management as a Moral Obligation treats moral responsibility in terms of non-discriminative attitudes within an organization and argues the necessity of implementation of the respective programs (Demuijnck, 2009).

Table: Contrast and Compare of Methods, Design, and Data Analysis Techniques in the Given Articles.

Points for consideration Non-Discrimination in Human Resources Management as a Moral Obligation A Novel Approach to Business Ethics Training: Improving Moral Reasoning in Just a Few Weeks
Design and scope The main scope of the experiment consists of the evaluation of discrimination mechanisms and their influence on the decision-making process in the light of human resource management. Further, the author discusses possible legislative and ethical tools for the elimination of this disparate strategy. The article investigates how to avoid biases in this field and to introduce effective non-discriminative policies. The research is carried by the implementation of a quasi-experimental design consisting of pre- and post-training approaches (Jones, 2009, p. 370). The participants of the study are 190 freshmen from the business school. In addition to the course taken up by students, a novel pedagogical approach will be applied for increasing the reasoning skills. The approach will be divided into two parts: making notes and assessment.
Methods Applied This an independent qualitative research presupposing the analysis of the case study This is a mixed-method of research implying the focus groups observed by the teachers during the class.
Data Analysis Techniques Analysis of different empirical evidence thus exploring different company’s background and their ethical codes and legal issues regulating moral obligation. Hence, the paper mostly relies on a combination of normative and empirical approaches, since this method regards the research question within theoretical constraints. In order to assess the results of the research, different measures have been taken for the analysis like DIT to assess the validity and reliability of the approach. The pre-testing and post-testing procedures have been further analyzed for defining the change of rising of reasoning skills among students.

Suitability Methods, Design, and Data Analysis Techniques in the Given Articles to the Research on Training and Development for the Proposed Research

With regard to methods of data analysis, the researchers apply different types of methods, specifically the qualitative and mixed types. More importantly, in the first research, the main source of information is the case study whereas in the second research there is the group focus. This means that the latter can provide some inaccurate data due to the setting of the research and the method applied to achieve the results. Besides, both types of research do not make use of interview methods thus omitting beneficial possibilities for the proposed research.

Addressing the scope and design of the research, both articles are predominantly based on empirical data. The papers involve the analysis of case studies within a certain theoretical framework. With regard to our particular research on training and development, this approach is the most relevant one for examining different layers of relations and connections between the employees of Glaxo Smith Kline.

Further on, the data collection and analysis differ in the articles. In the first case, the study relies on both empirical and theoretical data whereas the second paper is more focused on the consideration of practical evidence leading to the creation of theoretical concepts. Viewing this aspect through the topic of our research, the first article is more effective for the analysis of the business environment in the company since all training and development projects (the rise of self-awareness and behavioral analysis) are basically created with the application of theoretical concepts. Besides, as learning and development should be considered both at an operational and strategic level, it is also necessary to include such methods of analysis as measures and testing to identify the changes that occurred after the implementation of the training programs and approaches.

Four Problems Raised in the Articles Related to the Research Question

Considering the credibility of the researches, “[it] is also discussed as a rhetorical achievement between the author/s and their intended audience – both in terms of the qualities of the composed theoretical elements and the writing practices of the author” (Locke and Locke, 2001, p. 60). At this point, the research called Non-Discrimination in Human Resources Management as a Moral Obligation is more valid and reliable is does not comprise some pre-testing and post-testing measures. Arising from this, the application of testing to the analysis of training and development programs at Glaxo Smith Company will be efficient because it will provide the research with numerical data.

Judging upon the appropriateness of the researches on training and development, the first article displays more consistent goals than the second one does. This is explained by the fact that the second one provides a more vast area of research whereas the article on A Novel Approach to Business Ethics Training: Improving Moral Reasoning in Just a Few Weeks has a purely practical basis. Our research, thus, should contain both practical and theoretical foundations to emphasize the validity and reliability of the research.

Referring to the paradigmatic peculiarities of research on training and development, the quality of testing and theoretical concepts should be practically useful. In other words, a well-grounded theory is the one that is approved in practice. The main problem of the given researchers is that both do not refer to theory to practice properly. Therefore, our research should first analyze the empirical data before forming the theoretical concepts.

Further, the theoretical framework should be also highlighted with the purpose of bringing the readers to the understanding of how particular research refers to the data to be analyzed. The problem is that there are frequent cases when the research involves the summary and enumeration of theoretical concepts only thus leaving few chances for the readers to scheme their own theoretical scheme and providing more constraints for empirical data (Locke and Locke, 2001, p. 60). In contrast, the absence of a sufficient theoretical framework deprives the researchers of solid ground for qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Reference List

Bell, E., and Bryman, A. (2007). The Ethics of Management Research: An Exploratory Content Analysis. Journal of British Management. 18(1), pp. 63-77.

Demuijnck, G. (2009). Non-Discrimination in Human Resources Management as a Moral Obligation.

Developing our people. (2010). 2009 Report. Web.

Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R., and Lowe, A. (2002). Management research: an introduction.

Gill, J., and Johnson, P. (2009). Research Methods for Managers. US: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Gummesson, E. (2000). Qualitative methods in management research. US: SAGE.

Harrison, R. (2005). Learning and development. US: CIPD Publishing.

Ichniowski, C., and Shaw, K. (1999). The effects of human resource management systems on Economic Performance: An International Comparison of US and Japanese Plants. Management Science. 45(5), pp 704-721.

Jones, D. A. (2009). A Novel Approach to Business Ethics Training: Improving Moral Reasoning in Just a Few Weeks. Journal of Business Ethics. 88(2), pp. 367-379.

Locke, K. D., and Locke K. (2001). Grounded theory in management research. US: SAGE.

Martocchio, J. J. (2003). Research in Personnel and Human Management, volume 22. UK: Emerald Group Publishing.

Sadler-Smith. (2006). Learning and development for managers: perspectives from research and practice. US: Wiley-Blackwell.

Suanders, M., Lewis, Ph., and Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. US: Pearson Education.

Thomas, A. B. (2004). Research skills for management studies. US: Routledge.

Wood, M. J., Kerr, J. C., and Brink, P. J. (2006). Basic steps in planning nursing research: from question to proposal. US: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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