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Research Design Methods Case Study

In: Business and Management

Submitted By Marilyn1982
Words 1212
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Question 1
Many organizations frequently rely on the insight of consultants to assist them in identifying areas of opportunity, making highly impactful decisions, and gaining additional insights as to the forthcoming direction of their industry. Some of the largest and most reputable consulting firms, such as Booz Allen and McKinsey, work on a global scale with internal divisions that specialize in a number of varying industries. The concept of consultants has been of great debate for many years, as some believe that if there is good management in place, they should be able to lead their organization appropriately without the help of expensive teams from the outside. However, one must remember that a great deal of what makes the daunting price tag of consultants an easily justifiable expense is the extraordinary weight the opinion of outside consultants carries with key influential decision makers. A Forbes magazine article on the topic says, “It really is often about being able to say “XYZ Consultants Inc recommend we do this” as that carries more weight in the internal arguments than “I say we do this” (Worstall, 2012). As a manager at a life insurance company, there a a number of things I would be looking for in the business report I received from the consulting firm I hired before I deem their findings valid. I would first need to understand the intent of the research contained in the business research report. For instance, I would view the findings from one point of view if my company has historically been realizing degrading performance in the area of customer satisfaction, versus if our performance in this area is considered the best in the industry. Having a firm sense of the exact problem statement the research completed is trying to solve will be vital to my ability to best interpret and utilize it. Additionally, I would look for would be to determine how well the consultants went about seeking to gain an adequate understanding of the insurance industry, our company history, principles, and values, as well as our goals for the future.
To truly serve justice in consulting for our company, the consultants must be thorough enough to understand the sheer importance of getting to know their client in advance of beginning the research itself. Another factor I would seek out is whether or not the empirical standards of the scientific method were utilized in the gather of this research. Our text teaches us that high quality research employs these procedures in order to generate replicable research through the employment of nine key principles. Some of these principles include ensuring the purpose of the research is clearly defined, the research process is detailed and thoroughly planned out, only the highest of ethical standards are applied, the findings are presented as unambiguously as possible, and the researcher’s personal experience is reflected. As this business report would likely contain suggestions for improving the customer experience as our life insurance company, it would be very important to me that I am convinced the findings therein were crafted by upholding the highest standards and come from an experienced source.

Question 2

In today’s highly competitive market, companies must ensure that they are constantly seeking to differentiate themselves from their competitors. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is the providing of world class customer service. Many companies subscribe to the thought that any customer initiated communication, other than to place a new order, is actually a defect in the system. Meaning that if the customer has to reach out for help, to discuss an issue, or for any other reason, the company has failed, because these things should be intuitive to the customer. In the situation described in this question, my organization has noticed an escalation in customer complaints about their calls being misrouted or dropped. Naturally, as the office manager, I become quite concerned when I notice our receptionist fiddling with his hearing aid.
As an experienced manager, I know that I must consider all the possibilities before I declare any unfounded conclusions, as there are a number of possible reasons for the uptick in dropped and misrouted calls. For instance, we may be experiencing issues with our telephony provider. Wires and lines may be crossed, or the phone system that we utilize from a third party vendor may be the problem. Additionally, it could be that there is an employee within the receiving department (where the calls are being transferred to) that is avoiding calls due to laziness. Lastly, it is possible that the receptionist is actually having problems hearing the customers when tell him where they would like to be transferred to.
A less experienced manager, would likely jump to the latter hypothesis and terminate the receptionist. However, I know that such a termination would need to be highly strategic in nature to ensure I was not placing the company is a position to be sued for discrimination. Therefore, the first thing I would do is assign the receptionist to a new position temporarily, that does not require him to utilize the telephone, such as working in the mail room. I would then put someone else in charge of the front desk phones. In doing so, I would be able to see if there is any improvement to the customer experience when they call in. If there was, then I would know that I should reassign the original receptionist permanently. However, if the same complaints continue with the new receptionist, then I would switch gears to focusing on the telephony system itself. The employment of both inductive and deductive reasoning is the best method to utilize in resolving this issue.

Question 3

As a consultant for Gentlemen’s Magazine, my task is helping their organization prove that men’s clothing stores would be well served to advertise in their magazine. Thus far, the sales team for Gentlemen’s Magazine has been wildly unsuccessful in securing shoe manufacturers as advertisers because they view the men’s clothing store, where this magazine is distributed, as a dying segment of the clothing industry. Before I even began to design the mail questionnaire, I would conduct the necessary research required to determine if the editor’s thoughts and opinions are even valid. It would be a grave waste of capital and time to complete the exploratory process just to find out the that shoe manufacturers are correct in that the men’s clothing retail stores are a dying enterprise. This business research, defined as “a systematic inquiry to provides information to guide managerial decisions”, would be critical to determining how to best proceed.
For instance, I would figure out how many shoe sales occur nationwide via a men’s shoe store versus other outlets. In designing the mail questionnaire, I would ask questions that seek to uncover how often the respondent shops in a physical men’s clothing store, how likely they would be to purchase their shoes from a men’s clothing store, what factors they look for when purchasing new shoes, and the like. Providing the results favor the thoughts and opinions of the editor, my final step would be to craft a business report outlining these facts in such a fashion that ease the difficulty the sales team has with the shoe manufacturers when discussing marketing opportunities.

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