Business Research

Topics: Scientific method, Sociology, Research Pages: 35 (1590 words) Published: June 3, 2015
Bryman and Bell: Business Research Methods: 3e

Chapter 1

Business Research
Authored by Tom Owens

The Ultimate Answer

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reserved. May not be scanned, copied
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• Business Research Methodology

© 2010 Cengage Learning. All rights
reserved. May not be scanned, copied
or duplicated, or posted to a publically
accessible website, in whole or in part.


Business Research Defined

Business research is the application of the scientific method in searching for the truth about business phenomena.
The process includes:
 idea and theory development
 problem definition
 searching for and collecting information
 analyzing data
 communicating the findings and their implications


Business Research Defined

This definition suggests that business research information is:  not intuitive or haphazardly gathered
 accurate and objective
 relevant to all aspects of the business
 limited by one’s definition of business
Not-for-profit organizations and governmental agencies can use research in much the same was as managers in for-profit organizations.


Applied and Basic Business Research
• Applied business research
 conducted to address a specific business decision
for a specific firm or organization.
 Example:
Should McDonald’s add Italian pasta dinners to its menu? Which health insurance plan should a business provide
for its employees?


Applied and Basic Business Research

Basic business research (also called pure research)
 conducted without a specific decision in mind that usually does not address the needs of a specific organization.
 Attempts to expand the limits of knowledge in general.
 Not aimed at solving a pragmatic problem.
 Example:
 Do consumers experience cognitive dissonance in lowinvolvement situations?  Does employee tenure with a company influence productivity?


Influences on business research

Figure 1.2
Page 29

The role of theory in research
Which comes first, theory or research?
- should

we examine a problem and try to work out
how it’s caused and how it might be solved (inductive
- or should we take a generally accepted theory of
how things work and find evidence for it in the
problem we examine (deductive reasoning)?

The nature of business research
Business research does not ‘exist in a bubble’ in a world apart from the social sciences -it is integrated with them;
The variety and diversity of business and management
studies makes it hard to find agreement on how business
research claims should be evaluated;
Perhaps it can only be seen as an ‘applied’ field because it is concerned with solving management problems;
Academic researchers add to theory “supported by bits of
practice” and management consultants contribute to
practice “backed by bits of theory”. (Gummesson, 2000)

Page 5

Evidence-based management
• Is the systematic use of the best available
evidence to improve management practice
(Reay, Berta and Kohn 2009)
• Concept developed to reduce variation in
(clinical) practice
• Information comes, in part, from the expertise
and judgement of managers, working in
individual firms
Key concept 1.1
Page 6

Knowledge is ‘produced’ in two modes
• Mode 1
– traditional, universitybased
– academic audience
– pure and applied
– built upon existing
– more linear process
– limited emphasis on
Based on Gibbons et al.

• Mode2
– involves:
• academics
• policy-makers
• practitioners

– trans-disciplinarity
– related to context
• not easily replicated

– less linear process
– more emphasis on
dissemination and

Page 6

Theories come at two levels
Grand theories:
• Structural‑functionalism
• Symbolic...
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