Research and decision making for Business

Research and decision making for Business

Introduction

In the changing business environment, the work has become more demanding.  The employers to remain competitive puts high performance pressure, strict work condition, close deadlines and fixed working hours.

The challenging work environment has drawn attention to inflexible work duration/timing which has been affecting the staff performance and overall productivity of the organisation (Lee et al., 2015).

The employers are aware towards the need of employee friendly policies, flexi-time and flexible work durations to balance the work and life however, implementing the change towards the work timing policy of staff is a difficult decision in particularly, with limited staff.

This require the need for the options (such as employee opinion, resistance, etc.) to be explored before the decision for change in work hours are made and implemented. Thus, this research proposal analyses a business situation for changing the work timing policy of staff working in retailing sector in the United Kingdom.

Research and decision making for Business

Analyzing the Business Decision

The decision for changing employee hours (working time) is a major change for the organisation. The inclination towards the decision for change in working hour policy is to provide an opportunity for the employees’ convenience (Kelliher and Anderson, 2010) and well being to work in more flexible environment.

The central issue towards this business decision is to save time in commuting and lower the stress of coming to office in peak traffic rush hours, improve productivity, reduce absenteeism (Bannai and Tamakoshi, 2014), work delays, maintain office decorum and also to improve work life balance and community life of employees.

However, the decision for work time/hours change can influence the stability in pattern of working hours (Bannai and Tamakoshi, 2014). This decision challenges the exiting arrangement of work timing.

Thus, before deciding on this business decision it is essential to explore and address how and in what ways the work timing has developed (in this technology progressive era) and can affected the business performance, productivity and profitability.

This indicates that there is a need to address and understand the significance of working hours/time in considering the changes in the working time policy of employees.

This business decision also requires analysing the task of accommodating the timing with limited staff (Kelliher and Anderson, 2010). The decision need to address that it will be applicable for all the organisational members or not and identify any resistance and concerns towards the proposed change from the employees.

The change in working time will be effective when there it is suitable and well accepted to major workforce, do not bear burden of additional cost, positively impact work behaviour, work quality, performance, productivity, time efficiency and meet customer demands.

This research purpose is to identify the impact of decision to change employee working time (hours) on overall productivity of the organisation.

To address the business decision, the following research questions need to be addressed.

  • What is the significance of working hour’s pattern?
  • How decision for change in working time affects employee work performance/ productivity?
  • What benefits and issues are surrounding the change in working time decision?
  • What will be the impact of this business decision on saving time, absenteeism rate and employee well being?
  • Is this business decision is convenient for all the organisational members and why?

The key variables and how to measure them

It is required to consider key variables and their relationship for the completion of the research study. The following key variables that can have a significant influence on the decision quality:

  1. Time
  2. Employee wellbeing
  3. Employee productivity
  4. Absenteeism
  5. Time:

Time is the most important variable that is related to the average time duration, which can be saved by the employees while reaching the office. The time taken during transportation and working time can play an important role for the employees to make a proper balance between work and life balance (Epstein et al., 2014).

It is because saving time during transportation and working time can be effective to spend time with family. The working time includes the time duration between the departure from home to office and arrival in the office. The saving of effective time can be spent with family by the workers that may give them more time productivity.

  1. Employee Wellbeing:

Spending more time in the traffic may frustrate the person. In result, the person behaviour may be changed in the office. He does not listen to any body and questions or deny small queries. But if the decision applied reduced the commuting time then the person behaviour in the office will be friendlier.

This will be visible in the office in few days itself. At the same time, more spending time with family may reduce stress level of the employee leading to improvement in wellbeing (Moen et al., 2016). At the same time, it may have a positive impact on the behavior of the employee at workplace due to wellbeing of the employee.

  1. Employee Productivity:

Time saving during the working hours can be effective to increase the employee productivity because of positive behavior and attitude due to declining stress and improve mental health.

The changes in working time can be effective for the employee to manage time consumed in personal and professional life that may be effective to increase his/her productivity at workplace.

The positive and friendly behavior of the employee will also reflect in his/her work that may positively impact the office productivity (Bannai and Tamakoshi, 2014). The office productivity will increase straightway. The number of customer attended ration will be increased that will reflect in the office hours.

  1. Absenteeism

Working in the office rather than spending the time in the traffic can have a negative impact on the health of employee that can increase absenteeism at workplace. Frustrated and stressed employee may be sick that may lead to taking off from work (Lee et al., 2015).

Negative impact on the health aspects of the person can result in leaves at regular level that may affect the productivity of the firm.

All these variables are measurable variables and research is based on these variables. Among these variables, time is independent variable that will have a significant impact on other dependent variables including employee productivity, employee wellbeing and absenteeism.

This research is based on the relationship between independent variable and dependent variables to achieve the research objectives of this study.

Research and decision making for Business

The Overall Research Design – Evaluating Options

Research Design: The research design shapes the research process for this study in a conceptual framework to undertake investigation for the research questions with suitable methods for collection and analysis of the data.

To fulfil the data requirement, qualitative research method will be adopted by the researcher over the qualitative or and mixed research method (combination of qualitative and quantitative design).

There is preference for quantitative design to best option for the existing study as it will be helpful in developing link among the known and observations by analysis the measurable data (Cortina et al., 2017) thus, provides factual understanding about the business decision. This design gives importance analytical techniques for the analysis and interpretation of data (Choy, 2014).

This design will allow the researcher to measure responses given by participants in direction from broad perspectives towards specific perspectives to arrive at valid inferences (Creswell, 2013). This design is also less time consuming to determine the factual knowledge and generate reliable outcomes as compared to qualitative or mixed method research design.

Therefore, with the use of quantitative research design the study can be competed in moderate timeframe to explore the research questions in an efficient and systematic manner.

Data collection method: To address the research question, the data is required to be collected from different sources. However, the research data needs to be collected as per the nature of the research problem, and considering the time, cost, availability of resources, requirements of data for statistical analysis and researcher skills (Bryman and Bell, 2015).

For this research, the researcher will employ both are primary methods and secondary methods of data collection. Under the primary data collection method, qualitative technique of survey through questionnaire is preferred to obtain fresh quantifiable data as primary research data.

The data will be collected through design of close ended questions. The questionnaire method is best fitted with existing study as it is very economical, saves time, responses (quantitative data) can be obtained through online medium and can be easily administered.

At the same time, under the secondary data collection method, comparable data will be obtained through review of existing literature from journal, books and news articles related to the research topic.

The secondary data will be useful to support the primary findings as well as to compare findings and increase the validity and reliability aspects of the overall study.

Data analysis method: To identify conclusive inferences and interpret the responses towards the research questions the collected primary research data needs to be analysed in a systematic way.

For this, the statistical data analysis using data management tool, MS excel spreadsheet software is considered to be most favourable option for this study. It is easy to use for data distribution and its various statistical functions (Goodwin, 2012).

It is also useful to present the results in different formats like tables, bar graphs, colour graphs, pie charts, etc. for each question and for easy interpretation of data findings.

Research and decision making for Business

Sample Requirements & Sampling Options

Sampling requirements highlight the requirements that should be fulfilled in this research process to obtain primary research data. The sampling requirement and option of sampling procedure forms a critical part in research process to identify an appropriate sample that will be representative of target population.

The sample requirement is to select an appropriate sampling procedure and samples by selecting a subgroup from the target population to participate in the process of research data collection.

The sample required for this study require a sampling option that allow flexibility in choosing samples and at the same time allow impartial selection of the participant.

Therefore, the sampling option that is best suited for the study is probability methods of sampling for choosing sample participants to develop a broad generalisation for the target population over non-probability sampling method.

Under the probability sampling method, the researcher would favour the use of simple random sampling so that every sample in the population will be given an equal chance of getting selected for participation in the research (Devore, 2011).

Thus, this sampling method will defines the population to draw conclusive inferences and will allow obtaining samples in easy and effective manner from the target population.

This will be also useful for the research in developing a sampling framework for choosing samples of interest from the population unit in a random manner and to give remaining samples an equal possibility of getting selected.

This sampling option is also suitable as it will not lead to any section bias in fulfilling the sampling requirement for this study in choosing sample of interest to answer the research questions.

The details of the sample required for this study are follows.

The sample requires participants belonging to both male and female gender to get responses from different perspectives. The age group of sample required are from 26 to 55 years to get viewpoints from participants belonging to different age groups. The experience of sample participants required is above 3 years.

This experience criteria will be considered to increase the chances of receive well understood and through response to research questions from experienced participants.

The sample participants needed for this study should be working employees as well as existing employees in retailing industry in the United Kingdom. This criterion will be considered according to the area of research.

Therefore, the population sample for this study will be existing employees from the UK retailing companies to include the samples subset that represents this entire selected population.

The next step requires defining an appropriate sample size that will allow the researcher to undertake statistical analysis efficiently for the study. Sample size for this study will be 150 employees as number of participants belonging to retailing field that will contribute in the research process.

A large sample size is chosen which is suitable for as per the nature of the research. Taking a large sample also is suited to the preferred quantitative research design whereas smaller samples are more suited to qualitative design.

According to O’reilly and Parker (2013), quantitative research requires a bigger sample size (ranging from 50 to 200 or more) for an accurate analysis of primary data and to arrive at precise interpretation for target population.

This sample size is restricted to only retailing industries in the UK who exiting employees can be easily accessible through email and social media sites.

Ethical Issues

Taking account of ethical issues forms a central part in research process to arrive at research finding in most effective and efficient manner. The ethical issues will be considered in this study which will be dealt with adoption of ethical practices in research design, methodology of obtaining primary and secondary data to address research questions (Ponterotto, 2010).

A collaborative approach will be followed in the process of research with mentors to reduce the chances of error and the research will follow university guidelines and rules to avoid any ethical issue form arising.

The ethical issue related to data mis-representation, plagiarism and copyright in secondary data for literature review will be considered and to deal with this, the research will follow practice of in-text citation and academic referencing method (Ritchie et al., 2013) throughout the study report to avoid ethical issues in secondary data collection.

The ethical issue related to sampling procedure will be considered as to whom to include and exclude as samples of interest as the study will not involve vulnerable groups such as children and elders and will limit to existing employees as per the research nature and requirement.

The samples will be chosen through impartial selection by a random process and the participants will not be forced to participate in the study. The research ethics will be maintained in obtaining research data from questionnaire by protecting the study participants from any stress pressure in filling responses and avoid any kind of discomfort in making contribution to this study.

Also, the researcher will maintain the respect, privacy and confidentiality of information (responses) provided for the questionnaire and it will neither be discloses to others nor be used other than this academic research purpose.

Conclusion

The above research proposal can be used to address the research questions to analyse the business decision of changing working time (hours) of employees in the United Kingdom.

This would be useful in understanding the impact of this business decision on identified key variables for any retailing companies in the target country.

The decisions of the researcher considered to be suitable research methods for this study will be quantitative research design, primary (questionnaire) and secondary data collection method (literature review), and statistical analysis of data using Ms Excel spreadsheet. The ethics will also be considered by the researcher for different areas of the research process.

References

Bannai, A., & Tamakoshi, A. (2014). The association between long working hours and health: a systematic review of epidemiological evidence. Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health, 5-18.

Bryman, A., & Bell, E. (2015). Business research methods. USA: Oxford University Press.

Choy, L. T. (2014). The strengths and weaknesses of research methodology: Comparison and complimentary between qualitative and quantitative approaches. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 19(4), 99-104.

Cortina, J. M., Aguinis, H., & DeShon, R. P. (2017). Twilight of dawn or of evening? A century of research methods in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(3), 274.

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. London:Sage publications.

Devore, J. L. (2011). Probability and Statistics for Engineering and the Sciences. US: Cengage learning.

Epstein, C. F., Seron, C., Oglensky, B., & Saute, R. (2014). The part-time paradox: Time norms, professional life, family and gender. UK: Routledge.

Goodwin, J. (2012). SAGE Secondary Data Analysis. UK: SAGE.

Kelliher, C., & Anderson, D. (2010). Doing more with less? Flexible working practices and the intensification of work. Human relations, 63(1), 83-106.

Lee, B.Y., Wang, J. and Weststar, J., 2015. Work hour congruence: the effect on job satisfaction and absenteeism. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26(5), pp.657-675.

Moen, P., Kelly, E. L., Fan, W., Lee, S. R., Almeida, D., Kossek, E. E., & Buxton, O. M. (2016). Does a flexibility/support organizational initiative improve high-tech employees’ well-being? Evidence from the work, family, and health network. American Sociological Review, 81(1), 134-164.

O’reilly, M., & Parker, N. (2013). ‘Unsatisfactory Saturation’: a critical exploration of the notion of saturated sample sizes in qualitative research. Qualitative research, 13(2), 190-197.

Ponterotto, J. G. (2010). Qualitative research in multicultural psychology: Philosophical underpinnings, popular approaches, and ethical considerations. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16(4), 581.

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., & Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2013). Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers. USA: Sage.

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