The managers of tomorrow will need to know more than any managers in history. Research will be a major contributor to that knowledge. Managers will find knowledge of research methods to be of value in many situations. Business research has an inherent value to the extent that it helps the management make better decisions. Interesting information about consumers, employers or competitors might be pleasant to have but its value is limited if the information cannot be applied to a critical decision. If a study does not help the management to select more efficient, less risky, or more profitable alternatives than otherwise would be the case, its use should be questioned.
The important point is that research in a business environment finds its justification in the contribution it makes to the decision maker’s task and to the bottom line.
At the minimum, one objective of this study material is to make you a more intelligent consumer of research products prepared others, as well as be able to do quality research for your own decisions and those of others to whom you report.
1.1 Why Study Research
The study of research methods provides you with knowledge and skills you need to solve problems and meet the challenges of a fast-paced decision-making environment. Business
research courses are recognition that students preparing to manage businesses, not-for-profit and public organizations in all functional areas – need training in a disciplined process for conducting an inquiry related to a management dilemma. These factors stimulate an interest in a scientific approach to decision making:
- The Manager’s increased need for more and better information
- The availability of improved techniques and tools to meet this need, and
- The resulting information overload if disciplined is not employed in the process
During the last two decades, we have witnessed dramatic changes in the business environment.
Emerging from a historically economic role, the business organization has evolved in response to the social and political mandates of natural public policy, explosive technology growth, and continuing innovations in global communications. These changes have created new knowledge needs for the Manager and new publics to consider when evaluating any decision. Other knowledgeable demands have arisen from problems with mergers, trade policies, protected markets, technology transfers, and macroeconomic savings – investment issues.
The trend toward complexity has increased the risk associated with business decisions, making it more important to have a sound information base. Each of the factors listed below, which characterize the complex business decision-making environment, demands that managers have more and better information on which to base decisions:
- There are more variables to consider in every decision.
- More knowledge exists in every field of management
- Global and domestic competition is more vigorous, with many businesses downsizing to refocus on primary competencies, reduce costs and make competitive gains.
- The quality of theories and models to explain tactical and strategic results is improving.
- Government continues to show concern with all aspects of society, becoming increasingly aggressive in protecting these various publics.
- Workers, shareholders, customers, and the general public are demanding to be included in company decision-making; they are better informed and more sensitive to their own self interest than ever before.
- Organizations are increasingly practicing data mining, learning to extract meaningful knowledge from volumes of data contained within internal databases.
- Computer advances have allowed businesses to create the architecture for data warehousing, electronic storehouses where vast arrays of collected, integrated data are ready for mining.
- The power and ease of use of today’s computer have given us the capability to analyze data to deal with today’s complex managerial problems.
- Techniques of quantitative analysis take advantage of increasingly powerful computing capabilities.
- The number and power of the tools used to conduct research have increased, commensurate with the growing complexity of business decisions.
To do well in such an environment, you will need to understand how to identify quality information and to recognize the solid, reliable research on which your high-risk decisions as a Manager can be based. You also will need to know how to conduct such research. Developing these skills requires understanding of scientific method as it applies to the managerial decision making environment. This study material addresses your needs as an information processor.