The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods provides perspectives on topics relevant to research in the field of business and management
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Journal Article

The Undergraduate Dissertation: Subject‑centred or Student‑centred?  pp59-66

Tina Shadforth, Brendon Harvey

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp47 - 170

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Abstract

Our paper is designed to stimulate discussion of the undergraduate research process. We use recent changes in the dissertation process at Coventry Business School as a backdrop for exploring the authors perceptions of two extreme types of teaching: the subject‑centred and the student‑centred. We conclude that the subject‑centred approach is dominant and it would seem to leave little room for continuing professional development of academics or students. Both authors will offer examples from their own reflective practice.

 

Keywords: Research methods, facilitation, learning environment

 

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Journal Article

Increasing business students' Confidence in Questioning the Validity and Reliability of their Research  pp67-76

Teresa Smallbone, Sarah Quinton

© Jul 2003 Volume 2 Issue 2, Editor: Arthur Money, pp47 - 170

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Abstract

Business students like to think that their research is of practical value but rarely have the confidence to question the validity of the data they have collected. Teachers expect that students will demonstrate a critical awareness of the limits of their own and others' research. The paper outlines different ways of teaching students how to recognise the key issues surrounding validity and reliability and how to make generalizations from their research.

 

Keywords: business, research methods, validity, reliability, teaching, learning

 

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Journal Article

Managing the Fear Factor (or how a Mini‑Viva Assessment can Improve the Process of Learning for International Students)  pp83-92

Susan Sayce

© Jul 2007 Volume 5 Issue 2, ECRM 2007, Editor: Ann Brown, pp37 - 124

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Abstract

This paper is about an exploration of international business students' learning through the use of mini‑vivas as a form of assessment. It also includes an investigation of the meaning of a mini‑viva for students who come from a wide range of nationalities. Pedagogical research has indicated that using this form of summative assessment for large cohorts of international students may be problematic (Carless 2002). However, experimentation with this model of assessment with MA business students in research methods has indicated that mini‑vivas can enhance and consolidate the learning potential of international students. So in effect this paper is also about explaining why this has happened in relation to students' learning.

 

Keywords: international students, research methods, mini-viva, deep learning, assessment

 

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Journal Article

University Academics' Psychological Contracts in Australia: A Mixed Method Research Approach  pp61-72

Branka Krivokapic-Skoko, Grant O'Neill

© Sep 2008 Volume 6 Issue 1, ECRM 2008, Editor: Ann Brown, pp1 - 94

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Abstract

It has been argued that in a workplace environment that is characterised by significant change and uncertainty, the formation and content of the psychological contracts are of increasing importance regarding levels of employee trust, satisfaction, commitment and motivation, and teaching and research outcomes. While research has clearly demonstrated that psychological contracts can have considerable impact upon workplace relations and employee performance, research into the formation, content and effects of psychological contracts between academics and the University has been very limited. The paper used a sequential multi methods research design to explore the formation and content of psychological contracts established by the academics within an Australian University. The empirical research began with exploratory focus group discussions which were followed by a mail survey. The focus groups were carried first to identify the issues and themes that can subsequently be drawn upon to assist with development of relevant survey questions. Focus groups sought to elicit insights and subjective interpretations of the psychological contracts and the consequences of perceived fulfilment or breach. This, first qualitative phase of research has identified four key foci of academic responsibility that greatly influenced the formation and effects of the psychological contracts that have been formed, and these are: the University, the discipline, society, and students. These four categories were used later on to further develop the questionnaire and carry out exploratory factor analysis (EFA) of a larger survey of the academics. Using exploratory factor analysis of the survey data, eight factors were discovered relating to the University's obligations to its employees and three underlying factors were found in relation to individual academic's obligations to the University. In terms of the University's obligation to the academics, the EFA reinforces the importance of leadership and management, fairness and equity (notably in relation to promotion and provision of opportunities for career development). In terms of the academics' perceived obligations to the university, the EFA points to the importance of role expectations and commitment to the job and student learning.

 

Keywords: Mixed methods, psychological contracts, academia

 

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Journal Article

Researching Spirituality and Meaning in the Workplace  pp1-10

Carole Brooke, Simon Parker

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

In this paper we begin to address the topic of researching spirituality in the workplace. The notion of spirituality at work has been an increasing focus of attention in the academic literature over the last 10 years or so, with several special editions of journals being dedicated to the topic. However, we find at least two areas of this work so far to be problematic. One aspect relates to the apparent ambiguity relating to the term 'spirituality' in itself and, especially, in comparison to the use of the word 'religion'. Another aspect refers to the motives and drivers behind the study of workplace spirituality and the search for 'higher meaning'. In essence, we find the predominant objectives behind the research to be highly instrumental. Sometimes this seems to be deliberately espoused but sometimes it is more hidden. This paper attempts a preliminary critical review of the field with a special emphasis on the issues it raises for the researcher. In particular, we seek to show how the way in which 'spirituality' is conceived and constructed directly affects decisions related to methodological choice and (ultimately) to research design itself. We close the paper by reflecting on the importance of the topic and yet the dangers inherent in appearing to trivialise its nature.

 

Keywords: organisations, spirituality, critical management, meaning and work, religion, research methods, protestant ethic, essential self, methodology

 

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Journal Article

Research Methods — a Case Example of Participant Observation  pp39-46

Jessica Iacono, Ann Brown, Clive Holtham

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

This paper discusses the role of the researcher as a participant observer and reflective practitioner. The paper aims to assess the benefits and limitations of participant observation, and offer guidance as to how to manage the challenges inherent in this technique. The paper draws on the lead author's experience as a participant observer when working on her doctoral thesis: 'Factors Affecting the Viability of Electronic Marketplaces: an Empirical Investigation into International Steel Trading'. It discusses the issues and concerns resulting from participant observation and how these were dealt with in the case example. The empirical research was a longitudinal study tracking the evolution of steel electronic commerce between December 1998 and the present time. The events examined in this study were observed during the lead author's ten years at a large steel producertrading house. As a trader and a manager, the lead author was directly involved in the conduct of business. The study represents the contribution of an industry practitioner and, as such, provides a unique insight into a real‑world setting.

 

Keywords: participant observation, qualitative research methods, qualitative data, longitudinal case work, steel trading case

 

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Journal Article

Claiming the Streets: Feminist Implications of Psychogeography as a Business Research Method  pp47-54

Deborah Knowles

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

This paper is intended to establish a claim that the techniques of psychogeography may be advantageously employed in business and management research in order to provide a new perspective on how organisations are experienced. It examines this practice for its possibilities as a research approach for women and its compatibility with feminist research methods. Psychogeography offers an approach to gaining an understanding of the ways that human behaviour is shaped by the geographical environment (Coverley, 2006). It constitutes a style of collecting a variety of qualitative data using complementary methods, which gives a textured view of the real world in a particular environment. Psychogeography is primarily a literary tradition. However, its constituent parts are academic disciplines rooted in real world experience. The attraction of psychogeography to a business researcher is many layered. It invites the researcher to observe the environment slowly and painstakingly, whilst "strolling", and to construct meanings in a number of ways. Walking is celebrated by psychogeographers as a cultural act and an important way to understand the world, yet the male‑as‑norm character of psychogeographers is well established (Solnit, 2001). The masculine tradition of psychogeography may operate to challenge woman researchers to examine the possibility of using this approach in conjunction with feminist perspective research methods as a way of exploring and questioning women's place in a patriarchal culture (Acker et al, 1983). Feminist research methods seek to address the "invisibility" of women's experience in academic studies (Roberts, 1990:7), to overturn the male‑as‑norm perspective, and to highlight the possibilities for women to engage in 'male‑preserve' activities. In the case of the male preserve of psychogeography these intentions would apply not only to the subject of the study but also to the practice of the research method itself.

 

Keywords: psychogeography, feminist research methods, qualitative research, safety in the field, London, organisations

 

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Journal Article

Taking Stock of Research methods in Strategy as practice  pp156-162

Ramya T Venkateswaran, Ganesh N Prabhu

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp63 - 162

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Abstract

Strategy‑as‑practice research provides understanding of a complex phenomenon in language rich and holistic process terms, rather than statistically significant but limited variance terms. It requires mapping individual and organisational activities in the process of strategizing. This article assesses four research issues in strategy‑as‑practice research and their impact in advancing this field: challenges in bounding the scope of the research question, issues with the unit of analysis, difficulties in defining the dependent variable of outcomes and finally the challenge in specifying a particular level of analysis, all of which present complexities in the design of data collection. We suggest two broad alternative approaches that have the potential to push the frontiers of methodology to greater rigour in strategy as practice research. First, quantification methods that can capture practice can be a valuable tool, a paradigm that has been ignored in much of strategy‑as‑practice research. Second, better process data may be revealed by organizations that voluntarily initiates a consultation process with a researcher as it benefits by doing so, so we suggest that clinical research methods, that include such intervention, provide better understanding of the phenomena of strategizing. We make a case for why these methods must for acceptability in strategy‑as‑practice research.

 

Keywords: strategy-as-practice, research methods, strategy research, clinical research, review

 

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