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Human Resource Management in Developing Countries: Methodology

Info: 2941 words (12 pages) Dissertation Methodology
Published: 26th Aug 2021

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2. Research Methodology

As I have used a survey-questionnaire approach to gather data. The study is based on two stage sampling design. In the first step, Indian organizations were chosen randomly from the national capital region of India. In the second step, the organizations, top, middle and senior level managers in HR or who were line managers were randomly selected to fill in the questionnaires. From this sample of 40 managers a total of 12 questionnaires were filled in.

A total of 28 questionnaires returned were either incomplete or the managers refused to oblige. The scope of the study has been limited to managers from the industries in the national capital region of India. The organizations from which the managers responded spanned the multinational companies. Research instruments Human Role Assessment Survey Questionnaire (Conner and Ulrich, 1996) was administered on the sample. Participants were asked to refer to the HR professionals in their business entity and rate the current quality of each activity.

This study discusses the methodology and the approach that the researcher followed for the completion of this study. In order for the aims of the project to be fulfilled it is necessary to acquire knowledge of the practices of Human Resource Management within Indian Companies. The research was done with a phenomenological approach. It is so called because it is based on the way people experience social phenomena in the world that they live. This method has its own merits and demerits.

On one hand it facilitate the understanding of how and why, it make possible for the researcher to be alive to the changes that occur during the research process, and this method is good for understanding social processes. On the other hand there are certain limitations such as, data collection can be time consuming, data analysis is difficult, and the research has to live with the hesitation that clear patterns may not emerge (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill, 1997). The snapshot view was taken for the companies being analyzed through questionnaires and the literature looked into the development of the HRM techniques through time in the developing countries with special emphasis on India.

In order to talk to the objectives of the research, secondary information was collected from books, journals, magazines and newspapers, etc. the research tries to consider the performing areas upon which any form of strategic HRM depends, it describes the current state of the Human Resource Management and Personnel Management in India and tries to evaluate its level of operation to determine whether it is a strategic tool for shaping corporate strategy. This study is thus, descriptive as well as exploratory and concentrates more on qualitative approach. Basically there are two types of research methods, quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative research uses technique based on the principles of physical sciences. Statistical methods are used then to test fixed theory. Quantitative research is also prepared to provide a linear progress from problem to solution. According to Smith (1988) the scientist spends time observing the actions and groups of people. Thus the researchers simply observe without making and value judgments after which the researcher explains the observed behavior.

The qualitative data is based on meanings expressed through word. . It results in collection of non-standardized data that requires classification, and is analyzed through the use of conceptualization. Quantitative research then goes from observation to theory, then to testing. However, according to motley (1986) this order is often violated and studies are attacked because they do not follow the conventional chain of events.

He goes on further to criticize studies for lacking a strong theoretical basis from which to operate. Yet, quantitative researchers fail to realize the position they put themselves in when they do this. Quantitative research however comes with advantages and disadvantages. Its main advantage is that it gives out quantifiable data, which needs to be generalized sometimes. Also, its greater weakness is that it does not account for human behavior, which is not quantifiable, but significant to find the objectives of the research.

In compare, qualitative methods are entirely different, reluctant to more on analysis and are less prone to try and measure every aspect of the study. Qualitative research tends to produce rich intense data, relating to small numbers of people, as opposed to vast standardized data relating to large numbers. Qualitative studies are mainly about people’s subjective interpretations of complex situations. Burrell and Morgan (1979) call this the “interpretive paradigm”. There is little need to quantifying every detail in qualitative research because it’s not worried about prediction and control (Lindlof, 1995).

Nonetheless, this does not mean that qualitative research is not practical. It includes the understanding of the researcher and the subjects of the research. Researchers using the qualitative approach make systematic observations and work to say something meaningful about their chosen topic doing it in a particular way (Buttny, 1993). However, it’s arguable that qualitative methods are more effective when trying to research relationships between people in organizations (Walker, 1985 p.3)

There was a limitation as qualitative data analysis is very monotonous and conclusion from such data is subject to debate and might be unfair by individual’s viewpoint (Gill and Johnson, 1997). Questionnaires (appendix 1) were used for collecting the primary data from the companies. The company were selected in India random and questionnaires were sent to them to identify the extent to which Human Resource Management is practiced and its perceived usefulness in improving the efficiency of organizations.

Despite, their difference research approaches qualitative and quantitative research seen to share similar characteristics. Both of them use a structure which allows researchers to make performance. Furthermore, they both use interpretation to observe initial results of a course of research. However, qualitative differs greatly in relation to data gathering. Nevertheless, the analysis of qualitative data is highly personalized. Obviously the analysis of the researcher is extremely likely personalized. Obviously the analysis of the researcher is extremely likely to affect the outcome of the researcher. This raises the question of validity and reliability in qualitative research.

The basis for these differences lies in the purpose of the research. Quantitative research is intended to be in charge of the topic being studied enabling the researcher to know the content of his or her data before it is even collected.

Researchers undergoing qualitative approach of research do not worry with every measurable detail. “Fundamentally, qualitative researchers seek to preserve the form and content of human behavior and analyze its qualities, rather than subject it to mathematical or formal transformation’s (Lindlof, 1995). Basically, qualitative researchers strive for an agreement on phenomenon.

According to Kaplan and Maxwell (1994) the goal for understanding a phenomenon from the point of view of the participants is largely lost when textual data is quantified. Thus its come be seen that qualitative methods rise above most of the shortcomings of quantitative methods. Qualitative research strives to bring depth to a phenomenon that quantitative methods lack.

Collection of Data

Secondary Data

In order to address the objectives of the research, secondary data was collected from books, journals, magazines, newspapers, embassies etc. Secondary data is information which has been collected, collated and analyzed by others for other purposes, while primary data is information collected as part of a particular research because it is considered relevant to the study and research problem (Ghauri et al, 1995:54-57, Riley et al 2000:107).

In addition, the following secondary sources that can also be important for any kind of research including the researcher’s study can also come in the form of: Central and local government studies and reports, census reports, State budgets, rules on international trade regarding imports and exports, and policies on the foreign direct investment.

Studies and reports of institutions and departments such as the central bureau of statistics, universities, telecommunications departments, marketing and other research institutes, chambers of commerce and foreign missions such as embassies, trade centers and consulates.

Academic as well as organizational journals and newsletters pertinent to the problem area. In many countries, different branch organizations publish journals on statistics regarding their own industry, the development of a particular discipline or problem area. Textbooks and other published material directly or indirectly related to the problem area.

And lastly, theses and reports written by other students in our own university and in other schools and universities are the best guide line for the student. Many schools keep an up-to-date record of all these written in different disciplines. This is perhaps the most important secondary source at the earlier stages of our research process. They provide us with insight not only into our problem area, but also into the other sources mentioned above.

The reason for using secondary data is because it’s very advantageous in terms of saving time and money. It also not only helps me to prepare and understand the research problem better, but it also extends the base for which scientific conclusions can be drawn. Another advantage of consulting secondary data is that it suggests suitable methods or data to handle a particular research problem. According to Churchill (1987:181) ‘Do not bypass secondary data. Begin with secondary data, and only when the secondary data exhausted or show retreating returns, proceeds to primary data.”

In addition to secondary data, primary data is equally essential for more insight into the company being researched on. There are several choices regarding the means of collecting primary data. Usually, this includes observations which entails listening and watching other people’s behavior in a way that allows some type of analytical interpretation used to collect first-hand information in a natural setting to interpret and understand the observed behavior or situation more accurately; surveys (questionnaires) and interviews which are the most popular data collection method in business studies.

Primary Data

The researcher also collected primary data in addition to the secondary data in forms of case studies, unstructured interviews, and participant observation with few respondents. Other includes observations, surveys (questionnaires) and interviews by mail, phone, and personal contact. Surveys and questionnaires are the most popular data collection method in business studies.

The most valid research method for the major part of the study was considered to be the interview. Interviews can be differentiated according to the level of structure and standardization adopted: a structured interview being one where a predetermined and standardized or a formal set of questions is adhered to, an unstructured interview does not follow any prearranged process; a semi-structured interview will normally contain an element of both.

The advantage of a semi-structured interview is that it enables a disciplined approach to be taken without constraining or inhibiting the responses by the rigidity imposed by a totally structured interview (Elliott and Christopher 1973). Chisnall (1986) stressed that the interaction between the interviewer and the respondent contributes greatly to the success of the interviewer. ‘The intellectual atmosphere of an interview is at least as important as the mechanics of the interview processes.

However with this study, the researchers also focused on using questionnaires which are said to be descriptive and analytical as my form of primary data to gain information related to India , initially in Indian organization to identify the extent of which Human Resource Management is practiced and its perceived usefulness in improving the efficiency of Keane and other related organizations. An experience survey approach which is a qualitative information collection technique used in marketing was is a qualitative information collection technique used in marketing was in attempts to tap the knowledge and experience survey approach which is a qualitative information collection technique used in marketing was used in attempts to tap the knowledge and experience of those familiar with the general subject being investigated in addition to identifying the current phenomena.

Surveys involve questions of some sort and are important for collecting people’s opinions and needs. It also helped the researcher acquire information quickly with relatively minimal expense and effort from a relatively large number of respondents. The qualitative research is often focused on social process. It is thus common in social and behavioral sciences and those who want to understand human behaviors and functions suitable for studying organizations, groups and individuals (Strauss and Corbin, 1990). Furthermore, descriptive surveys are often used to obtain consumer attitudes towards a certain product and to ascertain views and opinion of employees in an organization (Reeves and Harper, 1981).

These surveys will thus help researchers understand the behavior of employees in regards to motivation, job satisfaction and grievances in relation to how human resource management is acknowledged in their company and their view towards HRM practices in India generally. However, in addition to helping the researcher with their study, surveys also help these various organizations understand the expectations and requirements of their customers as well as employees, develop service or product based on the standards as well as employees, develop service or product based on the standards of their required findings: determine how well the organization are satisfying requirements both within the company and outside and finally establish goals and access how well to meet these goals.

Special care was taken for designing the questionnaire: questionnaire focus, questionnaire phraseology, the form of response, and question sequencing and overall presentation. Questionnaire were designed in order to gain an in depth knowledge of Human Resource activities in organizations and for a remedy of reality.

There are factors which have limited to be unaware about the real meaning of Human resource Management and so most were not very co-operative, as they thought that allowing this type of research would identify some of their weaknesses, which would in turn threaten their competitiveness. The results of the questionnaire survey will be analyzed in depth, but it is important to first point some of the methodological problems that were faced during the course of this study.

However, it is safe to note that the greatest drawback under the exploratory study lies where the findings may seem credible enough to be released incorrectly as conclusions. Further downside includes the tendency to extend the exploratory phase, and inadequate representation of diversity.

A few problems arose during this research due to time and distance limit. As all the questionnaires were sent to various parts of India, the time was too short and limited for data gathering, the result of which led to the waiting for more replies from such companies. The distance makes it difficult to keep in touch with the companies in order to get a response, in terms of phone calls, which would be very expensive, and the postal questionnaires are very time consuming.

Similarly, there were many companies which did not respond to the questionnaires, probably since they did not see Human Resource Management as an integral issue in organizational building and strategy. Thus was quite discouraging for study being carried out. Another probable reason could have been that the companies did not bother posting the questionnaire back at their own expense, or they might not have been able to understand the purpose of the study clearly just by looking at the questionnaire and thus they did not feel like responding.

In order to minimize problems of this sort, it is important for the leaders of developing countries, like India, to become more involved and encourages managers of companies to contribute to the betterment of the Human Resource Management by actively participating in the studies like this. This is important as the research is not only academically viable but also potentially useful to them. It may also be necessary to extend the time allotted for this type of study.

At the time of writing up this study, there was in fact a response from only companies, and thus the results from these companies can only be analyzed. The companies that responded were from small size, thus the result of this study may possibly be gender, at the companies were selected at random.

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