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Organizational research is fueled by concerns about policies, patterns, personnel, purposes, clients, and procedures. Any applied endeavors are particularly interested in the interaction between humans and the operation of organizations. Organizational science is put into motion with the aim of addressing different problems in order to help understand the inner workings of organizations. Since organizations are created by humans, their existence is dependent on the dynamic human activity that makes up their operational structures. The paper will focus on the definition of research in organizations and how the data obtained from the research is applied in the daily operation of the organizations. Also, the paper will provide details on the areas tackled by current research. Afterward, it will provide ideas on the areas where possible future research will be based.
Uses of research in organizations
The use of qualitative research will be explained by the different theories and tools used to gather information, and they include grounded theory, ethnography, discourse analysis, case studies, interviews, narrative approach and autobiographical stories. Ethnography put emphasis on observational and word data to study cultures and human behavior. The theory uses participation, fieldwork, in-depth interviews, and observation to determine the behavior of human beings in different cultures and societies. Human behavior has no particular pattern, and therefore their impact on the operation of the organization is random. A critical analysis of the factors that may contribute to the different behaviors gives managers the required information to predict and direct the workers in their section. Organizational ethnography is a way of finding out what workers of an organization do when conducting their duties at work. Ethnography results in the improvement and review of the current processes and office systems over time (Boodhoo & Purmessur, 2009).
Grounded theory is mostly used in the health organizations because it uses psychological processes to explain the way workers interact with each other. For instance, this type of research is used to determine how relatives with patients in the intensive care unit cope with the doubts on the recovery of their loved ones. The theory is also applied to the organization to understand its business environment, organizational identity, and customers’ demands. The narrative approach has to do with personal life stories that enable the understanding of culture, behavior, and patterns in organizations. Narrative theory is used in the transfer of knowledge in an organization. For instance, when an employee is struggling with a particular problem, any other person who has gone through the problem can narrate his story with the intention of helping the employee to deal with his problem. Therefore, each employee does not feel neglected, and the overall performance of the workers is maintained or improved resulting in the overall performance improvement of the organization. Another typical example of the use of narratives is during the annual business meetings where the statement of the chairman acts as a tool which provides direction to all employees to achieve individual goals (Boodhoo & Purmessur, 2009).
Research based on case studies involves the collection of data by intensively examining an organization, an event or a situation in a particular group. This research is mostly used in analyzing complex or rare occurrences such as corporate failure by utilizing different approaches such as case studies to investigate the cause of corporate failures. Organizations may use the data obtained from case studies research to understand its business environment better. The research is also used in the improvement of the firm’s corporate body such as corporate structures, internal policies, and organizational management so as to reduce the risk of the organization becoming insolvent. In the medical field, biological psychologists who specialize in studying the human brain cannot be able to do it in a lab because of ethical concerns in manipulating a person’s brain. Therefore, the alternative solution is doing research on people who have experienced brain malfunctions due to accidents. Researchers analyze patients who have suffered brain damage over a long period and the data collected from the research is used in the future treatment of brain diseases.
An interview is a type of research method where two or more individuals are involved in a conversation where one asks questions, and others provide answers. The questions are structurally made to obtain specific information on various issues of interest. Interviews are used in organizations to recruit new workers where questions are formatted in such a way that enables information on the experience, educational background and special skills of the applicant that would be compared with the qualifications needed for a particular position. Interviews are important tools in recruiting and selecting the best staff in an organization which will increase the organization’s knowledge and human capital. Also, research in the form of interview provides information about a person’s experience and expertise which is then used to give promotions to hardworking employees (Boodhoo & Purmessur, 2009).
Over the last ten years, the use of qualitative research in organizations has increased because it is believed that this type of research produces better findings due to its subjective nature.
The list of current research areas include:
1. Corporate failure
2. Behavior patterns of human beings in workplaces
3. Discourse analysis
Corporate failure is a complex and rare occurrence. An example of current research is the failure of large organizations such as Enron and WorldCom. Research based on case studies seeks to determine the reason behind the failure of organizations. Discourse analysis is a research tool where spoken or written language is analyzed. This tool is applied in organizations where information from the executive is directly communicated to the workers so that information is not distorted (University of Leicester, 2017).
1. Market dynamics. The survival of the organization depends on its ability to adapt to market changes quickly.
2. Excess application of technology in an organization that results in reduced workload for workers.
3. Evolution of organizations. With the improvement of technology especially in the manufacture, transport, communication, and computer-based services, organizations are expanding at a fast rate. Therefore, new structures and operation methods are required for the organization to match its growth rate.
Quantitative and qualitative research are two major types of research used in organizations. Qualitative research provides better findings due to its subjective nature. This type of research is more specific and is used to investigate several areas such as the behavior of human beings which is not easily quantified but is necessary to any organization. On the other hand, quantitative research is broad in its perspective, and the information obtained has a general outlook. To effectively use research in organizations, a balance between qualitative and qualitative research should be established. Currently, more companies are embracing qualitative research more than quantitative because of the numerous advantages to organizations.
Boodhoo, R., & Purmessur, R. D. (2009). Justifications for Qualitative Research in Organisations: A step forward. The Journal of Online Education, 1 - 6.
University of Leicester. (2017, January 12). Management. Retrieved from University of Leicester: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/management/research/areas
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