Positivist approach, it looks into the observable data which can be measured. (Brewerton, Millward 2001).Unlike positivist paradigm, phenomenological paradigm cannot gather useful data such as changes in sales figures for further statistical analysis. However it can be used to examine the staff in their working environment and how it affects their attitudes. (Berg 1998) This looks in-depth as to why staff appears to be unhappy.
Positivist approach can also collect such data e.g. due to poor sales which caused staff to do over-time effecting in increasing costs. It looks at the causal relationship between the variables – sales, costs and attitudes of staff, and analyses the data using comparative analysis. (Blaikie 1993) Given a large organisation of 35,000 staff, it is too time consuming to gather a representative data out of the population using phenomenological paradigm. (Collis and Hussey 2003) Therefore, positivist paradigm is used.
Longitudinal studies will provide more defined results, however it is too time consuming for the CEO to keep track with the research as it involves forward planning. Experimental Studies needs to have the staff working in an undisturbed environment in order to conduct the experiment. However, the variables cannot be manipulated and controlled in various combinations as it will cost a lot just to conduct an experiment alone.
Cross-sectional study is mostly preferred for large organisations, as it is quick and cheap. However, it does not evaluate the cause and effect of the relationship of the variables. It is also difficult to isolate variables as there is no control over them. (Collis and Hussey 2003) It is not used as it does not explain if there is a co-relation between the variables, in this case – sales, costs and attitudes of staff. Therefore in this research, it would be most appropriate to use surveys methodology. Surveys provide fast, inexpensive, efficient and accurate means of gathering data from the population. (Zikmund 2000) According to Collis and Hussey (2003) it is not recommended to use surveys when the population is large, as it would be too time consuming and expensive to collect data.
However, a sample of the population may be used. This will be discussed further in point 6. Descriptive surveys are not used as it only allows evaluation of attitudes towards a certain issue. An analytical survey is more preferred as it allows the researcher to evaluate if there is any co-relation between the different variables – sales, costs and attitudes of the staff. (Collis and Hussey 2003) Various methods are used to gather data as they complement one another which will be discussed in further detail below.
One of the methods is to look into records that the organisation already owned such as surveys or past research records conducted by the company previously. These will be able to give the researcher an overall idea of what is happening in the organisation. Other records include sales figures, product trends, sales of individual products, market trends, all of which will show how the sales are static. Expenses journal will show data for costs such as overtime wages, electricity etc.
One disadvantage of using past research records and surveys is that they were produced for a specific reason and audience which may differ from this research. Another disadvantage is the accuracy, validity of past records. (Yin 1994) Questionnaires Questionnaire is most preferred for large organisations compared to interviews and observation as it is cheaper and less time consuming. (Collis and Hussey 2003) It allows the gathering of demographic data such as gender, salary etc. It also allows research on attitudes of staff feelings towards a certain issue. This can asked using a ranking question, or a semantic differential scale. E.g. On a rank of 1-7, rate how happy you are at work. (Brewerton and Millward 2001)