Scholars from as early as the ’80s have debated on which research method is superior over the other when it comes to qualitative and quantitative research. Various authors who have used the techniques have come to agree that they are both essential and the use one method invokes the use of the other method. This paper will seek to understand what they entail, their relevance in deciding the research methodology, and their application in day-to-day studies. The study will further discuss the importance of have the correct research methodology and how it can impact the finding of a study. The study will further discuss leadership in teams and ethics with the help of two theories and strategies which leaders can use when putting these theories to practice. The study will further analyze how Change Management: Effective communication and motivation techniques can boost conflict resolution skills at both the organizational and individual levels with an aim to maximize organizational performance and profitability.
Research is a term that has been used independently in a number of ways to mean a structured attempt to find out new facts or information. Research dates back to as early as 1577. The word is derived from the French word “recherché” which means to search. The development of research methods was not developed up until the 20th century when the classification of research diversified into quantitative and qualitative (Hedges, Chalmers, & Cooper, 2002). Since then, research has dynamically evolved to become an integral component in every major organization. Multinationals spend billions in research and development to stay ahead of their competitors. For instance, in 2015, Samsung spends an estimated $14 billion on its research and development department according to its annual audit carried out on telecom giant (Adnan, 2016). This serves to paint a picture of the value that successful brands hold on research. In the modern-day, we use research in our day-to-day activities both consciously and unconsciously.
Research is one of the most dynamic disciplines that we have. Every study that is being carried out will not be unique in every aspect. There is always a context in which the study has been carried out before and every research acts as addition to the current existing information on the disciple. Research varies in diversity depending on the context of the application. In every institution of learning, learners are exposed to an element of research in whichever unit they are undertaking and the intensity increases with progression in the learning stages. In the work environment, organizations are using research to find new and innovating ways to make their products and services compete in the market. The type of research conducted depends of the research questions presented by the researcher. The topic of discussion and questions will determine if the study will employ qualitative or quantitative techniques.
Many authors have tried to come up with a specific group of words that can define quantitative research over the past four decades but have not been able to come up with an agreeable statement that can summarize the meaning of quantitative research. The techniques are named from two words namely quantity and research. Quantity is the value of a phenomenon that can be expressed in units of measurement whereas research is the systematic and structured attempt to explain the existence of a phenomenon in order to establish the pre-existing facts and draw conclusions from the same (Balnaves & Caputi , 2001). This combined together will help us understand the meaning of the term quantitative research. We can there say that quantitative research is the structured and systematic collection of measurable data that is examined and analyzed to explain the existence of a phenomenon or to add to the knowledge on a specific topic.
For a research design to be considered as 7 quantitative, there are a number of characteristics that have be unique to it. The following are some of the characteristics;
- Mode of data collection. Data collection in quantitative research methods is normally done through the aid of structured research instruments like the questionnaire which capture responses for specific questions.
- Sample size. The sample size normally encompasses a large size so as to capture a representative fraction of a population.
- Research question. The research is normally guided by a set of research questions which guide the flow of responses from the target audience.
- Preparation of the study. Before data collection begins, all tools and variables of the study are agreed upon before embarking on the study
- Representation of Data. This technique employs the use of graphs, charts, tables, graphs, and other mathematical representation forms to present data
Types of Quantitative Research
There are 5 main types of quantitative research methods that are widely used in the field, these methods investigate the tangible aspects of the study therefore cannot capture the mood, feeling and attitude of the respondent. They only focus on the visible qualities and attributes which can be measured and conclusions drawn from. They include the following;
1. Case study
This is a type of research where the study attempts to explain the existence of a phenomenon by study a specific item that is related to the phenomenon. This could be a person, a group or an event that is directly linked to the phenomena. The study involves thorough analysis of the subject and in-depth investigation of facts surrounding the subject. This is an effective method since it delves into the specifics of a subject and relates to experiences of the subject.
This is the systematic study of customs and culture of a group of peoples. The researcher focuses on a community when they are in their natural habitat and he records his findings without in any way influencing the people behavior and reactions. This method may however prove in effective when the target group chooses to behave in a different manner so as to portray an image that is not genuine. The researcher there needs to blend in with the community he is studying to make them feel at ease so that he can elicit original reactions.
3. Grounded Theory
This is a systematic methodology in the social sciences that focuses on development of a theory through the analysis of data. The theory originated in sociology (Glaser, Barney, Strauss, & Anselm, 1967)but has been used widely by various researchers in different field owing to its ability to compare a variety of facts and develop working theories from it. Its application in today’s economy is still present with many studies still using the method.
This method revolves around consciousness and acts of direct experience. It is however hampered by the ability of the respondent to deliver a true account of information. If the respondent alters information in anyway whether intentionally or unintentionally, then he may alter the findings of the study thereby causing inconclusive results.
This is the systematic and structured collection and objective analysis of data from past experiences to test a hypotheses relating to causes, impact and outcomes of an event which seeks to explain current or expected recurrences. This is a very effective method when studying naturally occurring events since it helps develop a pattern and create room for prediction of future events and outcomes.
Qualitative Research is a research method that focuses on the exploratory aspects of a study. Researchers use this technique to understand the root cause of a behavior, the opinions, motivations and underlying reasons that primarily lead to the occurrence of the event (Silverman, 2013). This method not only provides hypotheses for quantitative studies but it also provides a critical image of the underlying factors that are not common to the naked eye. Qualitative Research is also used by corporations and organizations to understand consumer behavior and reasons for preference for certain products. Data is collected through the use of structured and semi-structured which are common in social sciences.
Characteristics of qualitative research are as follows;
Absence of “truth”
In qualitative research, the findings are not always considered to be a true account of the study. The truth is subjective to the information collected and the interpretation that the researcher gives the findings. It is therefore impossible to report with 100% certainty that the findings of the study reflect a true account of the actual situation.
Importance of Context
The context in which the information is collected is also a key determining factor on the validity of the findings. The physical environment and manner in which the study is conducted affect the choice the respondent delivers. It is therefore important to make the respondent as comfortable as possible for them to open up and share their deepest thoughts and emotions.
Importance of Meaning
The meaning drawn from a respondent in qualitative research can be interpreted in a number of ways depending on the situation, respondent-researcher relationship, context, language and authenticity of responses among other variables. It is therefore to get an accurate account of facts if any of the variables is tampered or influenced in any way.
Researcher as an Instrument
The researcher in this context is used a tool for information collection, the researcher interacts with the respondent and through the questions that he asks; responses are given and recorded for analysis. The researcher is part and parcel of the process and to a certain degree he influences the responses that the respondents give.
Flexibility of the Research Design
Qualitative research is so dynamic that the respondent does not know the structure the interview will take. It is not systematic in flow and the questions dependent on the responses that the researcher gives. The researcher little or no control over the direction that the discussion takes and the respondent’s responses determine the direction it will take.
Range of Issues Covered
Qualitative research naturally tackles challenges that are complex for structured techniques and tools to handle. It tackles the thorny issues in society that everyone shies away from talking about publicly and elicits responses that other techniques cannot attain.
Complex Data Analysis Stream
Data collected from qualitative techniques is not structured hence proves cumbersome to deal with in most cases. The responses from one respondent vary from each other and each response is unique in its own rights and therefore analysis of the data cannot be grouped in categories that are similar.
Types of Qualitative Research
Qualitative research normally involves a small sample size and they are normally hand-picked to meet the requirements of a specific quota which varies from one study to another. Some common methods used in qualitative research include the following;
This is a special group that comprises of specific respondents who are specific in size, composition and affiliation specific products or services. The main aim of holding a focus group is to collect information on people’s views to specific products or services (Mary & Richard, 2015).the participants of a focus group normally have a number of characteristics in common that relate to the research topic and the respondent normally moderates a discussion where the respondents are interviewed in a open manner. The researcher conducts several of these interviews before drawing a conclusion.
This is quite similar to the focus group but different in just one aspect, the number of respondents. In an individual interview, the moderator sits down with one respondent who in turn discusses with the interviewer various issues that relate to the main topic. The moderator will sit down with several respondents who share similar characteristics in product or service use till he gets enough data to draw a conclusion (Silverman, 2013).
This is a method of collecting data that that involves observing the behavior of a specific group of target audience and then recording the findings. The observations are structured and guided by a set of questions. This method is however hampered by human intervention as a result of bias and alteration of data.
Importance of Quantitative Research
The following are advantages of quantitative methods,
- Threats are analyzed by their financial impact to the organization while assets are analyzed by their financial value to the organization. This way an organization is able to understand where they are exposed with regards to the decisions that they make and they are also able to understand how their assets give them competitive edge over their rivals.
- The findings of any research can be represented in values and figures that can help management make and implement decisions
- The level of accuracy in data collected is very high and it can help management understand the true picture on the ground which can aid decision making.
- Assessment of results in quantitative research are based on objective methods
- Performance can be analyzed at every level.
Importance of Qualitative Research
- The level of simplification of findings is so high that it makes decision making very easy. Management is able to understand the outcomes based on each decision and they are able to mitigate any negative outcomes
- The methods used to assess data and findings are very simple and easy to understand and interpret
- It is not necessary to identify a pattern in previous occurrences of similar events
- The approach does not emphasize on the financial valuation which makes analysis very easy
- The study captures the most crucial risk areas and caters for them early
Challenges of Conducting Quantitative Research
- Quantitative techniques involve a lot of data interpretation and representation. The figures and numbers to analyzed are at times very cumbersome and the methods of calculations prove difficult to work with.
- Majority of the processes in quantitative are data intensive and without the right tools to assist in implementation, the process may prove difficult.
- There is no agreed procedure for implementation of quantitative techniques
- Risk assessment is based on opinions of people hence there is an element of erroneous findings
- The process it time consuming and very involving since it involves a large sample size
- The results of the findings are normally presented in mathematical representations and this may be difficult for certain people to understand
Challenges of Conducting Qualitative Research
- The assessment of threats and its findings are subjective in nature and cannot be heavily relied on to make conclusive decisions.
- The ideals of the researcher may affect the direction the research follows
- It is difficult to assess the aspect of risk management owing to the subjective nature of the study
- It is difficult to implement controls because there is no cost benefit analysis
- The study does not clearly differentiate risks and threats so it is hard to determine what risk overweighs the other.
- The quality of the study is highly dependent on the research team
Relationship between Research Problem and Research Methodology
The dissertation problem statement helps the researcher decide on the research method that the study will employ. Different problems require different research methods and it is critical to use the correct method so as to achieve the best possible results (Rajendra , 2008). For this dissertation, the study sought to understand specific problems that problems Eritreans in the refugee camp in Ethiopia were undergoing. The choices that the study sought were exploratory in nature and so there was a need to engage a qualitative research technique.
Using qualitative techniques will help the study understand the who, why, and how questions that the study is seeking to solve. This will help the researcher get a bigger insight into the challenges and problems that the target audience is facing.
Relationship between Rationale and Research Methodology
The rationale entails the supportive explanations that a researcher presents to support the need to carry out a study. The purpose of the study defines the direction that a study will take and gives guidance to the research questions and research methodology (Bright, 1990). The rationale can be used to structure the variables that the research will focus on and this can help choose a suitable target audience and establish guidelines for choosing the focus group and conducting the interviews.
The research methodology that this study will employ is the use of qualitative techniques. This is an exploratory research technique that seeks to understand the root cause of a behavior, the opinions, motivations and underlying reasons that primarily lead to the occurrence of the event. In this case we want to understand why the refugees are moving out of Eritrea.
Justification of the Research Methodology
The dissertation plans to adopt a qualitative approach due to the nature of the questions the study seeks to answer. For purposes of this dissertation, we seek to understand the reason behind the migration of people from Eritrea to other states. Many people move for various reasons ranging from political, social, and economic reasons. The case of Eritrea exhibited bad governance as the primary contributor behind the massive migration patterns. Therefore, using a qualitative technique will guide this study to unearth the underlying problems that are causing this migration.
This is the overall strategy that a study employs to combine the different aspects of a study. It is important to design the study well so as to meet set objectives and answer all the research questions that a study seeks to understand.
Planning gives a study a direction and order of conduction. It is essential to understand the necessary information available about a topic, the funds available for the study, the manpower and skill set at disposal of the researcher, the time allocated to conduct the study and support that will be accorded throughout the study. This are essential to help a researcher understand how to plan their study.
This is an essential part of conducting the study since it involves handling the information that the target audience is delivering. It is important to have adequate and effective tools of data collection so as to avoid any misrepresentation of data and omission of key facts.
This is the process of making the data collected and analyzed viable for decision making. It is important to employ the latest techniques and methods to analyze the data to achieve the best accuracy out of the data collected.
Research has been there for the longest time possible and it applications in today’s life are many. It is important to understand the best research technique that one should use in conducting a study so as to achieve the best possible results. The field is rapidly changing and dynamic so one technique cannot be independent of the other. At one point in time one will need to borrow tools from each research technique so as to achieve the best accuracy.
Leadership is defined as the process through which the leader persuades and motivates a team of followers to pursue interests that are common to either the leader or both the leader and his followers (John, 1990). The leader gives a sense of direction in a system and acts as the go-to person for problem-solving and management matters. Leaders vary from one setup to another depending on the functions, tasks, and essentials of the group. Over time, the term has been confused with a manager who more or less performs actions which a leader does (Kim & Samuel, 2014). A manager in a modern-day organization is a person who has been given authority to preside over a group of people who have common goals and ambitions. A leader on the other hand wields power, control, and influence over a group which is derived from their level of persuasion, power, money, respect, or access.
Leadership in Teams and Ethics
Leadership in teams provides an avenue for innovation, creativity, talent utilization and optimum utilization of resources to bring about total performance management (Ruth, Debra , & James, 2008). In past decades, senior management teams more often than not end up falling apart and breaking down. It was a worrying trend considering that the teams comprise of the top brass in organizations and most learned persons. This was all a result of poor team leadership. Each individual developed a team of loyal followers who were loyal to only him and could not play catch up to other leaders. Each leader felt supreme over other leaders and it brought about conflict (Ruth, Debra , & James, 2008).
It is therefore important to develop a culture of proper team leadership to ensure the survival of a team remains. There is a need to identify a uniting factor in the team who keeps the team in check and observes that the team follows the set objectives it has been mandated to carry out.
Ethics are the moral principles and guidelines that govern a body. They stipulate the behavior and code of conduct which should be followed in the execution of certain duties and responsibilities. When teams are brought together, ethical issues are bound to arise from time to time. These issues range from internal to external factors and it is necessary for the team leader to ensure that the set guidelines are strictly followed to avoid any conflicts that may arise (Alain, 2002).
Great Man Theory
This theory views leaders as being born with leadership traits rather than being acquired. This theory dates back to as early as the 19th century and it has been widely used to explain the big names we have had in the past. According to this theory, the likes of Napoleon, Gandhi, and Lincoln were born with the leadership trait embedded in their very being. These individuals went ahead to impact the lives of millions of people through the use of the influence, power, character, and life that they led (Frederic, John , & Agnes, 2010). Although this theory has been interrogated several times, it remains to be one of the most used leadership theories that has been put forward to explain the existence of leaders and it is the most accepted.
The leader is further described as a charismatic character who will shine in any group that he is placed in. He will command the respect of the team and team members will look up to him for direction and guidance. The character is related to traits such as selflessness, intelligence, obedience and charm. Great Man Theory borrow largely from the traits of an individual.
Advantages of Great Man Theory
- The theory offers a lot of information on the character of the leader than any other theory presented. This is because the theory focuses on the character of the person as being the defining characteristics that makes them qualify to be called leaders.
- Its acts as ground zero for understanding the background of leadership as one of the earliest and most common explanations to the existence of leaders.
Disadvantages of Great Man Theory
- There is no universally acceptable description of the specific qualities of a leader. They vary from one individual to another and a character that may make one considered as a bad leader may work in the complete opposite in a different scenario
- The traits that depict are leader are some of the characters that are considered to be weak and unacceptable in common day managers and top leaders of organizations and multinationals.
- There is no clear differentiation between leadership and traits which are both theories. This way they both borrow from each other and makes it difficult to differentiate.
- The concept places power and recognition on a selected few and discredits anyone who is not considered to be gifted with the ability to lead.
- This theory places the success of a team in the leader which is a wrong approach to take because success is not an individual effort but a team effort.
- There is no scientific support to this theory
This theory tends to look at the character traits of a person and the in terms of what they do. This theory unlike the Great Man theory tends to look at leadership as a result of effective management and control of behavior. Skinner presented the theory as a result of an individual responding to stimuli in his environment which brings about learning and behavior change (Skinner, 2011). This theory better explains the modern-day manager who manages a team and has learned the art of leadership on the job. While this is a more acceptable explanation of leaders by a number of scholars, questions still remain on the subject.
Advantages of Behavioral Theory
- The theory suggests that leaders can be trained and anyone can learn how to lead if they put some effort. This therefore does not lock out the skill to a chosen few who are ‘’born with the skill’’.
- The theory has paved way for more recent leadership theory studies focusing on the leaders to give intended results.
Disadvantages of Behavioral Theory
- The notion that someone can learn how to lead has not been proven scientifically with a significant number of people exposed to the program coming out as “bad leaders”. It is therefore not 100% correct when we say that a leader can learn because it easy to learn how to do something but equally hard to actually execute it when it comes to behavior.
- There is no adequate information on the application of the theory in different contexts. A training on behavior that may provide positive results in one case may not necessarily yield the same results in another case.
Strategies for Optimization of Performance in Teams
For a team to effectively use the said theories and achieve maximum output in the work they set out to do, they must incorporate diversity in the team. The diversity may be in form of gender, age, skill, objective or affiliation. When a team has a sample of the entire population, they are able to capture the ideals of the entire population and this way they are able to execute the set out objectives much more efficiently thereby yielding results.
Prioritization is one the starting point of any successful venture. When teams prioritize their objective in order of most important to the least important, they are able to understand how to allocate resources available and how to share duties to make the venture a success. When a team fails to prioritize the most important functions first, they end up utilizing the little resources they have on the most trivial elements are they overlook the most important aspects which leads to failure.
A contingency plan is a plan devised to cushion an undesirable eventuality. Contingency plans are essential for day to day operations of not just a team but any business. There has to be a plan B in place that a team can borrow from in the event that the initial arrangement does not work out. Teams need to have a backup plan that is almost similar to the original plan with similar objectives but different approaches to the solution.
For any team to be successful in anything that they do, they have to set clear objectives that guide the operations of the team. This objectives are written down milestones that the team needs to achieve so as to be considered successful.
Constant Monitoring and Reviews
Constant review and monitoring helps the team understand if they are still on the right track. It is important for a team to sit and reevaluate their position with regards to the desired outcome that they want to achieve. These reviews also help flag any anomalies that may arise and put in place measures to mitigate them.
Diversity issues. With the diverse cultures, ideas and opinion that arise when more than two people are brought together, it is important to manage and properly mitigate any issues that may arise for there to be continued unity in a group.
Decision-making issues. Decision-making is always difficult when it has to come from more than one person. Different people have different thought processes and they cannot all think the same way. It is therefore important to note that teams will always come up with different solutions to the same problem. This may be an area of conflict that needs to be properly managed.
Compliance and Governance Issues. Working in teams exposes many of the team members to legal issues in their day to day operations, it is therefore important to observe all legal and ethical guidelines laid down to avoid compliance issues. One member of the team can destroy the reputation of an entire team so it is imperative that all matters legal are handled by a professional.
Integrity and trust issues. When working in a team, integrity and trust issues will always come up. A team must find a way to ensure that the team members have synergy amongst them and that the ideals of the team are put before anyone for there to be a success.
Leadership comes with various responsibilities and duties that a leader and the team must uphold. If a team comprises of a diverse members and they observe all ethical issues, then that team is bound to meet its set objectives and promote cohesion among the members. A team is as good as the leader and the leader is as good as the team. It therefore important for leaders and team members to ensure that they keep the interest of the team before individual needs and work with utmost professionalism.
Change management is a discipline that empowers individuals to equip, adapt and adjust to changes in order to realize organizational growth and success (Michael, 2012). The economy is rapidly changing and it is therefore important for various organizations to adapt to the changes to afloat in the market. The changes vary from technological, social, political, and behavioral so an organization needs to ensure that it is informed on the current matters and changes in the economy and that they have put in place change management mechanism to help them transition.
Effective Communication and Motivation as a Theory of Change Management
Communication is the movement of information between different parties in an up and down model. Communication can be from management to the employees or from the employees to management. Motivation is the desire and willingness to do something as a result of a rewarding factor. Communication plays a big role in ensuring motivation of staff. When communication between different units in an organization flows without any hindrance, there increased motivation as compared to when there is communication breakdown (Vanita, 2003).
Most successful organization have reported effective communication structures which run throughout the entire organization and majority of the top 500 organization can relate their success to effective communication and motivation. This is therefore an important pillar in the success of an organization that should be properly managed (Bruno & Margit, 2002).
Conflict Resolution as a Theory of Change Management
The manner in which conflict in work place is handled effectively determines the ability of change to be effected and managed (Jacob & Victor, 2009). Conflicts arise in day to operation of organizations and it is up to the team handling the conflict to ensure that they observe high level of professionalism to resolve the matter. There are many causes of conflict in the workplace ranging professional to personal reasons. It is important for the reconciliation team to understand the cause of conflicts and provide lasting solutions to avoid occurrence of the event.
Comparison between Effective Communication and Motivation and Conflict Resolution
The two theories of change management are crucial for the development of teams and growth of an organization. There is none that supersede the other but both carry considerable weight when focused on individually. It is important for organizations to understand that change within the realms of business is inevitable and there must be mechanisms put in place to manage changes that may arise in the work environment.
The two also work hand in hand to ensure that teams are operating at optimum by entailing the steps that make up a successful team. With effective communication and motivation, a team is able to operate without any problem and in the event that a conflict arises, conflict resolution comes in play. The two are therefore pieces of the same puzzle and one cannot exist in the absence of the other
Strengths of Effective Communication and Motivation
- With effective communication and motivation, it is easy to effect any changes that come up through constant communication of any changes. When the employees understand the changes that are taking place, they are able to assist management to implement them.
- Motivation keeps employees rejuvenated and invigorated so they are always open to new challenges. This helps them adapt to any changes that may come up.
- Effective communication and motivation reduces cases of unethical behavior in the work environment
- It creates a platform for information sharing where management is able to get feedback on implementations that are undergoing.
- It helps monitoring and evaluation effectiveness
Weaknesses of Effective Communication and Motivation
- Communication may be both a positive and a negative influence when it is not properly control. Too much information leads to information overload which may be the undoing of the organization.
- Motivation has to be done in moderation and controlled manner to encompass the entire population to avoid favoritism which may arise.
- Motivation has a cost implication attached to it and in some instance it may prove to be a costly affair to the organization.
Strengths of Conflict Resolution
- It helps solve the issue in teams and foster cordial working relationships
- It improves the output of the team and creates a conducive working environment due to easiness of the team
- It helps management understand the challenges the team is undergoing and ways through which they can solve them
- It acts as a check and balance of unethical behavior through the provision of avenues to identify problems early and propose solutions to the problems.
Weaknesses of Conflict Resolution
- Performance of the conflict resolution strategy entirely depends on the implementing party. If the persons spearheading it are weak, it may lead to failure.
- It may be hampered when it involves top management and part of the strategy implementation team.
- The strategy implementation process is not as dynamic as the ever changing problems; this may prove detrimental when trying to resolve a variety of challenges using the same strategies. Problems are unique in nature and they need unique solutions to solve them.
If a team implements effective communication and motivation, they will be able to operate without any problems or unexpected shortfalls. Any issues are able to be handled within the team when they arise without the need for a mediator and the team remains always invigorated and ready to handle the changing dynamics of the economy. Every team should ensure that the communication between them and external parties is maintained to provide transparency and avoid ethical dilemmas.
The economy has grown to become an unpredictable market where the solutions of today may not solve the problems of tomorrow. It is important that businesses understand that change management is an inevitable outcome and the sooner they embrace it the better. Every organization must undergo change and what determines the success of failure of this organization is their ability to cope with the changing times.
For any organization to grow, it needs to ensure that all departments are teams are operating at an optimum level, for this to happen, the organization needs leader, teams and strategies that work for the business and are aimed and helping the organization meet its overall objectives and achieve profitability. In this century, change in inevitable and we must embrace it. Every multinational must undergo change to adapt to the changing times. Leaders should ensure that they implement effective change management theories that will help the business sail through the difficult times.
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