Scope of Business Research Meaning, Nature

Scope of Business Research

Table of Contents:-

Business research refers to the systematic collection and analysis of data with the purpose of finding answers to problems  The scope of business research is wide, It can be carried out with the objective to explore, describe or diagnose a phenomenon. It involves establishing objectives and gathering information to obtain the answer to a business issue. It can be conducted to answer various business-related questions, such as: What is the target market of my product?

Scope of Business Research

The scope of business research is constrained by how one defines “business.” Certainly research in the production, finance, marketing, or management areas of for-profit corporations within the scope of business research.

To understand the scope of business research, it’s important to explore the different elements of management that it covers. The scope of business research is described below:

Scope of Business Research

1) Production Research

The production function in an organization is dynamic and needs continuous improvement in process, product design, cost and many more. Production research is instrumental in resolving the complexities resulting from these changes and improvements. Researchers conduct production research in the following areas:

i) Methods for Standardizing and Controlling Production,

ii) Finding new and better production methods, and

iii) Finding strategies and methods for troubleshooting.

2) Industrial Research

Industrial research is a pragmatic concept that prioritizes the well-being of a company. Therefore, it is a planned effort to gain better information and improve the new and existing products, services, and processes. The scope of industrial research extends to several crucial areas, and they are as follows:

i) Developing services and new products to gain market share,

ii) Finding ways to improve the quality of services and products,

iii) Innovating new methods for utilizing the available resources,

iv) Decisions regarding minimising the cost,

v) Ways to reduce hazards at the workplace,

vi) Standardisation of processes, and

vii) Developing strategies for improving the relations with customers and the public.

3) Organisational Research

Organizational research includes a multitude of disciplines. In an organisation, researchers come from different backgrounds and hence bring various concepts, tools, and methods for analysis. Many experts widely accept that students aspiring to become future managers benefit significantly from a solid understanding of research methods. Organisational analysis facilitates managers to explore various theories and findings that are relevant to the organisation. Additionally, it helps the managers to increase their problem-solving efficiency. Knowing the research fundamentals allows the managers to investigate a problem scientifically, which in turn enhances the efficiency of managers.

4) Marketing Research

There is widespread use of research in marketing. As a result, the company formulates all its marketing strategies and initiatives based on consumer tastes and preferences, which various research efforts aim to thoroughly comprehend. Companies conduct marketing research to study consumer behaviour, assess consumer attitude, measure advertising effectiveness, evaluate distribution channel efficiency, analyze sales, and support new product development, among other objectives.

Some specific examples of marketing research are:

i) Forecasting the demand for products,

ii) Analysing the buying behaviour of consumers,

iii) Measuring the effectiveness of advertisement.

iv) Decisions regarding media selection for proper advertisement.

v) Market testing for new products,

vi) Decisions regarding the positioning strategies for a product,

vii) Estimating the product potential.

5) Human Resource Development and organisational behaviour

The areas of human resources and organisational behaviour are some of the core domains of research. Within these domains, researchers actively investigate several significant issues, which we’ll outline below.

i) Individual behaviour and interpersonal relationships,

ii) Attitudes of employees,

iii) Leadership characteristics and styles,

iv) Mechanisms used for performance appraisal, and

v) Assessment centre and evaluation.

6) Accounting and Finance

In the world of accounting and finance, there are several important areas that researchers focus on. These areas help us understand how money and financial decisions work. Researchers who specialize in these areas play an important role in making sure organisations’ financial systems work well and help people make smart financial choices. Their work is important for improving rules and regulations and guiding people in making wise investment decisions.

In the field of accounting and finance, researchers investigate various main areas, which are as follows.

i) Designing new practices and methods for inventory costing.

ii) Examining budgetary control systems.

iii) Analyzing the practice of transfer pricing and its effects on profitability.

iv) Investigating the treatment of depreciation and its effect on earnings.

v) Exploring decisions regarding capital structure and capital budgeting.

vi) Assessing the effect of merger and acquisition on profitability.

vii) Studying individuals’ attitudes towards investment decisions.

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What is Business Research?

Business research refers to various types of research conducted during the start of a business. For example, starting any business requires research into the target customer and the competition to create a business plan. Furthermore, conducting business market research in existing businesses helps keep in touch with consumer demand. Additionally, small business research begins with researching an idea and a name and continues with research based on customer demand and other businesses offering similar products or services. Businesses research to acquire information that can enhance their overall success.

Define business research

According to McDaniel and Gates, “Business research is the planning, collection and analysis of data relevant to business decision making and the communication of the results of this analysis to management”

According to Zikmund, “Business research is a management tool that companies use to reduce uncertainty. It is a manager’s source of information about organisational and environmental conditions, and covers topics ranging from long-range planning to the most ephemeral tactical decisions”.

Nature of Business Research

The nature of business research can be characterised in the following ways:

1) Different Emphasis on Theory and Practice

Gummesson presents an intriguing perspective on the relationship between theory and practice in business research. He sees academic researchers and management consultants as groups of knowledge workers who each place a different emphasis on theory and practice. ‘Backed by bits and pieces of theory, the consultant contributes to practice, whereas the scholar contributes to theory supported by fragments of practice’, but fundamentally their roles are closely related. Gummesson’s perspective emphasizes that researchers and consultants play a pivotal role in addressing management-related problems. This underscores the importance of their capacity to demonstrate the usefulness and relevance of their findings to the business community.

2) Applied in Nature

The practice of business research does not exist in a bubble, hermetically sealed off from the social sciences and the various intellectual adherences that their practitioners hold. The diverse nature of management and business scholarship has sparked significant debate regarding the appropriate evaluation of its research claims. Hence, some writers have suggested that business research can be understood only as an applied field because it is concerned not only with understanding the nature of organisations but also with problem solving that is related to managerial practice.

3) Problem-oriented

Applied research characterizes business research in almost every instance. Consequently, it is problem-oriented, aiming to obtain information to help solve a specific business problem or make a decision.

4) Conducted in a Dynamic Environment

Business research is conducted in an environment in which conditions change rapidly. Consequently, the answers to research questions asked today may very well differ from the answers to the same questions obtained yesterday. In these dynamic areas, the manager needs to stay in tune with the changing landscape. Moreover, the same research questions might need to be asked repeatedly. Therefore, successful organizations develop a culture where constant research is an integral part of their operation.

5) Involves Lengthy Fact-finding Exercises

However, some writers argue that management and business research excessively focuses on extensive fact-finding endeavours and is driven by theoretical considerations. Researchers would argue that application is not a primary purpose to which management research should be directed. For these scholars, the primary objective of academic study should not solely revolve around making research relevant to managerial practice. Many researchers believe that research should not be dictated by non-academic interests, such as professional associations and government agencies, who may seek to influence its focus and guide its development in a way that is useful to current practice but susceptible to the whims of current management fashions and fads. Others suggest that the business research and applied nature of management have influenced the development of the field in a way that makes it overly pragmatic and susceptible to users’ agendas.

Objectives of Business Research

The primary objective of research is to discover answers to questions through the application of a scientific research process. While there are various research objectives for different studies, some general objectives can be outlined as follows:

1. Descriptive Research: To accurately describe the characteristics of a specific individual, situation, or group.

2. Exploratory or Formulative Research Studies: To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or achieve new insights.

3. Hypothesis Testing Research: To test a hypothesis regarding a causal relationship between variables.

4. Diagnostic Research: To determine the frequency of occurrences or associations with something else.

Qualities of a Good Business Research

Good business research generates dependable data that are derived from professionally conducted practices and that can be used reliably for business decision-making. However, poor research is carelessly planned and conducted, resulting in data that a manager can’t use to reduce his or her decision-making risks.

Good business research adheres to the standards of the scientific method and possesses the following qualities:

1. Detailed Research Process

The research procedures used should be described in sufficient detail to allow another researcher to replicate the research. This includes the steps for acquiring participants, obtaining informed consent, detailing sampling methods and representativeness, and outlining data-gathering procedures. The omission of significant procedural details makes it difficult or impossible to estimate the validity and reliability of the data, and it justifiably weakens the reader’s confidence in the research itself, as well as any suggestions based on the research.

2. Purpose Clearly Defined

The purpose of business research—the problem or decision at hand—should be clearly defined and precisely delineated in unambiguous terms. The statement of the decision problem should encompass its scope, limitations, and the exact meanings of all words and terms significant to the research. Failure by the researcher to do this adequately may raise legitimate doubts in the minds of research report readers regarding whether the researcher possesses a sufficient understanding of the problem to propose a sound attack.

3. High Ethical Standards Applied

Researchers often work independently and have significant latitude in executing and designing projects. A research design that incorporates safeguards against causing mental or physical harm to participants and prioritizes data integrity should be highly valued. Ethical issues in research reflect important moral concerns regarding responsible behavior in society. Careful consideration must be given to research situations where there is a possibility of physical or psychological harm, exploitation, invasion of privacy, and/or loss of dignity. The research must be weighed against the potential for these adverse effects. While you can typically redesign a study, sometimes you cannot, and the researcher should be prepared for this dilemma.

4. Research Design Thoroughly Planned

The procedural design of the research, and its selection among competing designs, should be clearly described and meticulously planned to produce results that are as objective as possible. When more reliable evidence is available from documentary sources or direct observation, a survey of opinions or recollections should be avoided. Bibliographic searches must be comprehensive, and experiments should incorporate effective controls to reduce threats to internal validity and enhance the probability of external validity (generalizability). Direct observations should be recorded promptly after the event, and efforts should be made to minimize the influence of personal bias in selecting and recording data.

5. Adequate Analysis for Decision Maker’s Needs

The data should undergo a comprehensive analysis to uncover its significance, providing insights that are valuable to decision-makers. The methods employed for analysis must be suitable, and meeting this criterion often serves as a gauge of the researcher’s competence. For novices, adequate analysis is the most challenging phase of research. Rigorous checks for the validity and reliability of data are imperative. The data should be categorized in a manner that aids the researcher in drawing relevant conclusions, and clearly presenting the findings that support these conclusions. In cases involving statistical methods, appropriate descriptive and inferential techniques should be selected, the probability of error estimated, and the criteria of statistical significance applied.

6. Limitations Frankly Revealed

The researcher should openly disclose any flaws in the procedural design, providing a complete and frank assessment of their impact on the findings. Few research designs are flawless. Some imperfections may have minimal effects on the validity and reliability of the data, while others could potentially invalidate them entirely. A competent researcher should be attuned to the implications of imperfect design, drawing on their experience in data analysis to estimate the influence of these flaws. As a decision-maker, it is prudent to question the value of research that does not disclose its limitations.

7. Conclusions Justified

Conclusions must be confined to those supported by a sufficient basis in the data. The temptation to expand inductive reasoning by incorporating personal experiences and interpretations—data not subjected to the controls of the research—is common among researchers. Equally undesirable is the frequent practice of generalizing conclusions from a study of a limited population to apply universally. A hallmark of good researchers is their specification of the conditions under which their conclusions appear to be valid.

8. Researcher’s Experience Reflected

Enhanced confidence in the research is justified when the researcher is experienced, holds a solid reputation in research, and is known for integrity. If readers could access adequate information about the researcher, this criterion might be among the best ways to assess the level of confidence a research piece deserves and the worth of any decision based on it. Therefore, the research report should include details about the qualifications of the researcher.

9. Findings Presented Unambiguously

Evidence of the researcher’s competence and integrity is often embedded in the report. A favourable impression is conveyed through language that is restrained, clear, and precise. Carefully drawn assertions, hedged with appropriate reservations, contribute to this positive impression, as does a visible effort to achieve maximum objectivity. The presentation of data should be comprehensive, reasonably interpreted, easily understood by decision-makers, and organized to facilitate the quick identification of critical findings.

10. The Value of Good Business Research

Good business research holds inherent value only if it aids management in making better decisions to achieve organizational goals. While interesting information about consumers, employees, competitors, or the environment might be enjoyable, its value is limited if it cannot be applied to a critical decision. If a study doesn’t assist management in selecting more effective, efficient, less risky, or more profitable alternatives, its utility should be questioned. Alternatively, management may lack the resources (time, money, or skill) to conduct a suitable study or may face a low level of risk associated with the decision at hand. In such situations, it is valid to avoid business research and its associated costs in time and money. The justification for business research lies in its contribution to the decision-maker’s task and the bottom line.

Importance of Research in Business Decision Making

Business research is an important tool for understanding customers’ buying patterns, preferences, and pain points and gaining deeper insights into competitors, current market trends, and demographics. Employing effective strategies to comprehend market demand and supply enables businesses to stay ahead of the competition. Utilizing business research can lead to cost reduction and the design of solutions aligned with market demand and the target audience.

In business, the likelihood of failures diminishes with thorough research, providing insights into target customers and the optimal time to launch a product. A profound understanding of brand value empowers businesses to consistently innovate, meeting customer requirements and essential for growing market share and revenue. Conducting a SWOT analysis in business research is critical for making informed decisions, and paving the way for significant business success. Research serves as the foundational block of any business, acting as a catalyst for thriving in the market. Therefore, it is essential never to underestimate the value of market research and leverage its benefits to give an extra edge to your business.

Importance of Business Research

The importance of business research is as follows:

1. Resolution of Research Problems

A research problem denotes a complexity experienced by researchers, scientific communities, industries, government organizations, or societies. Whether theoretical or practical, it necessitates systematic understanding and potential solutions.

2. Understanding Existing Theories

Research on prevailing theories and concepts aids in recognizing their scope and applications, providing a foundation for informed decision-making.

3. Knowledge Repository and Problem-Solving Strategy

Business research serves as a knowledge repository, offering strategies for solving problems, whether theoretical or practical.

4. Impact on Industry and Business

In industry and business, research plays a pivotal role in enhancing profits, increasing output, improving efficiency, and promoting product quality.

5. Mathematical and Logical Problem Mitigation

Mathematical and logical research in business and industry helps reduce operational challenges, contributing to streamlined processes.

6. Innovation and Invention

Business research serves as a catalyst for innovation, fostering the development of new ideas and inventions that contribute to progress and growth.

7. Social Problem Solutions

Social research, a subset of business research, help uncover answers to social problems. It aims to explain social phenomena and seeks solutions to societal challenges, contributing to overall welfare.

8. Identification and Categorization

Research leads to the identification and categorization of new materials, living entities, stars, etc., expanding our understanding of the world.

Ethics in Business Research

Ethics in business research pertains to a code of conduct or the expected societal norm of behaviour during research endeavours. Ethical conduct is applicable to the organization and its sponsoring members, the researchers carrying out the study, and the respondents supplying the necessary data. The observance of ethics commences with the individual initiating the research, who should engage in the process in good faith, attentively interpret the results, and, by relinquishing ego, prioritize organizational interests over self-interests. Ethical conduct should also be evident in the conduct of the researchers leading the investigation, the participants providing data, the analysts delivering results, and the entire research team presenting interpretations and proposing alternative solutions.

Ethical behaviour pervades each step of the research process, including data analysis, data collection, reporting, and the dissemination of information on the Internet if such an activity is undertaken. The treatment of subjects and the safeguarding of confidential information are both guided by business ethics. The American Psychological Association has established specific guidelines for conducting research to ensure that organizational research is carried out in an ethical manner and that the interests of all involved are protected.

The recognition of ethics as a challenge for economic organizations is repeatedly revealed in surveys. Despite increased awareness of formal ethics programs and the presence of written ethical codes of conduct, there is a report of ethical misconduct. There is no single approach to ethics. Advocating strict adherence to a set of laws is difficult due to unforeseen constraints placed on researchers. Alternatively, relying on the personal sense of morality of each individual is equally problematic.

Consider the conflict between those who perceive death as liberation from a life of suffering and those who cherish life to the extent of sustaining it indefinitely through mechanical means. Each value system asserts superior insight into moral correctness. Certainly, finding a middle ground between being entirely code-governed or relying on ethical relativism is necessary. The foundation for that middle ground is an emerging consensus on ethical standards for researchers. Codes and regulations guide researchers and sponsors, while review boards and peer groups help researchers examine their research proposals for ethical dilemmas.

To avoid ethical problems in research, it’s important to plan carefully and stay updated throughout the process. Good research plans ahead for ethical challenges and makes adjustments to the design, procedures, and protocols during the planning stage, not as a last-minute fix. Ethical research is based on the personal integrity of the researcher, project manager, and research sponsor, and having integrity is important for conducting research responsibly.

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