Research works associated with the business administration is usually meant to reveal the advantages, disadvantages and reliability of the administrative strategies being employed by the management of an enterprise. In an attempt to meet these exploratory goals, a researcher embarks on an initiative of obtaining the views of respondents who, in most instances, include various categories of employees and managers. Usually, the respondents in the focus groups are randomly selected before being subjected to an in-depth interview. The interview is comprised of questionnaires which have been designed with the goal of meeting the research’s objectives. The data gathered is enhanced through evaluation of information from secondary sources. Secondary sources of information are availed by trade associations, statistical agencies, magazine and newspaper articles, academic publications and computerized bibliographies. The data are then computed and interpreted in order to derive comprehensive results.
In most studies researchers have found the constant comparative method appealing. This method facilitates the establishment of causality (Anselm & Strauss 1997, 4-8), i.e. the relationship that exists between one event and another (the effect). In this case, the effect is taken to be the result of the causing event. While studying business administration, candidates for causes and effects include facts such social-demographic data, variables, and the states of affairs like job satisfaction and managerial support. Some of these candidates are then characterized by causal relationships. Due to lack of universal characterization formulae, the process elicits debate among researchers and stakeholders. Nevertheless, the method has proved effective in a variety of settings.
In most cases, researchers employ the ideas of Strauss and Glaser as rules of thumb. Combining the two views enhances reliability because the results are double-checked for errors. Such a technique of double checking is commonly referred to as a cross-examination or triangulation. The goal is to enable framing of the querying process and enhance confidence with the results. Triangulation is a hugely valuable technique in facilitating data validation as it enables the cross verifying of several sources. In addition, most studies involve the combination and application of a number of methodological analyses while studying the effects of administrative procedures in an enterprise (Anselm & Strauss 1997, 4-8).
Through the combination of multiple observations, empirical materials and methods, research studies overcome the problem of intrinsic biases. These biases may result whenever a single observation, theory and method are applied in a study. Broadly speaking, triangulation may be employed with both qualitative and quantitative (validation) studies. However, the term is commonly used in reference qualitative studies. During research works, triangulation has emerged as a suitable alternative to other traditional procedures. This is because the principle behind the constant comparative method is neither deductive nor inductive. The method involves the combination of both procedures with a view of coming up with an abductively developed theory (Allan 2003, 7-10). As such, data sampling, analysis and theory development appears to be indistinct.
Researchers begin their engagements by gathering data about the prevailing conditions. Consequently, the information of interest facilitates the interpretation of these conditions without having to formulate hypotheses. This allows them to have flexibility such that even if more questions and issues arise during the study (Burn & Grove 2005, 28-30), there will be a room for further investigation. Therefore, studies incorporate as many views as possible during the analyses of states of affairs. For this reason, the constant comparative method appeals to most business researchers.
Constant comparative method presents a researcher with greater options while selecting the tools for gathering data. For example, in addition to interviews, a researcher could also be taking notes as he/she observes the manner in which the employees are answering the questions. Moreover, the method avails an avenue of incorporating data regarding the working environment as well as the enthusiasm of the employees.
The strategies for collecting qualitative information centre on the qualification of inter-relationships between variables. The instruments used in data gathering data enable the establishment of the inter-relationships. This is because they enable a researcher to seek clarifications as the participants continue airing their views. Moreover, by using these methods, a researcher is not detached from the research work and its final output like it would be the case when deductive reasoning techniques are employed (Uwe et al 2007, 7-10).
Instead of generating verbal information like the qualitative method, the quantitative approach follows statistical analysis that generates numerical values. It avoids the utilization of the holistic or content analysis, a scenario which facilitates the comprehension and explanation of findings after a research has been conducted (Yamagata-Lynch 2010, 71-73). These challenges are easily avoided when a qualitative method such as the grounded theory is applied. Deductive reasoning is not as complicated as inductive reasoning. Additionally, research works become conclusive, because in qualitative methods the scientific hypothesis is applicable.
The apparatus used in gathering the various pieces of qualitative information are highly flexible and therefore, a researcher has the capacity to accommodate the probability of changes as the research progresses. With the constant comparative method the focus is on understanding the prevailing circumstances as they are. The method enables the explanations and descriptions to be well-grounded and rich in content. The apparatus for gathering data evoke feelings which are more realistic to the research settings. Such an evocation is difficult to obtain from numerical data and statistical analysis (Uwe et al 2007, 7-10). In the end investigators have the capacity to present their findings in a holistic view.
In spite of their advantages, the constant comparative method and the qualitative approaches present some cons. A researcher using these approaches may be biased during the information gathering as well as findings presentations. Furthermore, these techniques may be difficult to employ when a researcher intends to evaluate the cause and effect relations that are evident between the discrete and pre-selected variables. These are the reasons why some researchers favour quantitative approaches as they avoid subjectivity when collecting and exploring the information about the phenomenon under study.
When controlled, laboratory experiments, mass surveys and observations are seen to make the data more reliable (Yancey & Barry 1986, 14). This is because the subjectivity in judgement that is not needed during thesis discussion is easily avoided when these quantitative methods are used. The result is that the experiments, treatments and determinations involved in the quantitative research become more objective. However, this method is complex since it requires a lot of longitudinal measurements in the subsequent respondents’ performance. This complexity as well as the difficulty in presentation deters researchers, a scenario which makes the qualitative techniques such as the grounded theory remain popular.
Studies of this nature utilize survey questionnaires as the basic data gathering tools. Most of the questionnaires are subdivided into two basic sections: the profile section and the surveying proper. The profiling section contains the social-demographic attributes of the interviewees including interviewee’s name and phone number, gender and age. The section also incorporates information such as the number of years an individual has been working with the company as well as his/her current job position and department. The section closes with details such as the meeting place and date.
Survey proper sections are used to explore the employees’ perception on the effectiveness of their company’s administrative policies, especially their utility in enhancing motivation and productivity of an enterprise. As such, the survey proper section incorporates questions aimed at establishing the advantages and disadvantages of the strategic policies under implementation. The questions are usually open and unlike in the Likert format the participants have a chance to respond widely. In situations where researchers are not interested with statistical data, there are no scales used during the interpretation of the responses. Nevertheless, scales are of high utility in quantitative surveys (Uwe 2009, 30-33).
Open questions allow the studies to establish qualitative approaches. These approaches present data which makes the constant comparative method operational. The validity of research questionnaires is enhanced by presenting the interview questions to at least five respondents in the focus group. The answers are then utilized for testing purposes. At this moment, the survey proper is revised based on the respondents’ suggestions. This facilitates the exclusion of irrelevant questions while changing the vague and difficult terminologies into simpler phrases.
Data Processing and Analysis
Following the gathering of data, the total responses in every item are collected. Consequently, researchers utilize the reverse directed hypothesis where they choose theoretical frameworks. The framework is then applied in modelling the phenomenon intended for the study. As such, this strategy appears to contradict the traditional hypothesis. At this moment, the key points are marked in a manner that enables the corrected data to be labelled through serialized codes. Investigators proceed into grouping the codes into related concepts, an activity that enhances the utility of the data. From the concepts, categories are derived. Consequently, these categories lay the ground for theory development. If need be the coding, concept and category formulation and theory development processes are repeated until satisfactory results are obtained.
As administrative studies involve human participation, specifically the human resource of a company, a number of ethical matters are addressed. Ethical considerations are meant to ensure that privacy of the participants is safeguarded. In the attempt to secure the participants’ consent, researchers relay every detail of their study to the focus group beforehand. These details include the purpose and aims of the study (Corbin 1997, 12).
The strategy of prior contact facilitates the understanding of the important details that the researchers seek to evaluate. It is also meant to sensitize those participants of their utility for the successful completion of the research. Respondents are notified that they reserve the right to withdraw from the study if they find it uncomfortable to continue (Angrosino 2007, 10). Most importantly, the investigators ensure that they maintain the interviewee’s confidentiality by ensuring that no personal information such as names and contact details are disclosed in the final research paper.