BUACC5931 :Business Research Methods -Job Satisfaction In The Banking Industry - Business Assessment Answer

November 06, 2018
Author : Ashley Simons

Solution Code: 1DDB

Question:Business Research Methods

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Business Research Methods Assignment

Assignment Task

ob characteristics are believed to have an impact on stress and well-being at work (Karasek & Theorell, 1990). The demands of the job on the one hand and the extent to which you have control over your own activities (decision latitude) on the other, are two factors which together define how stressful a job is. Those jobs which are high demand, but offer limited control, are considered to be high-strain and carry an increased risk of job dissatisfaction, stress and burnout.

Based on this theoretical framework, the Union of Belgian Banks sent out a research call to several institutions, with a bidding process based on criteria such as quality of the proposal, timing, and – above all – budget. The aim of the research was to carry out quantitative research to measure the relationship between job characteristics and job satisfaction in all Belgian banks at individual level. But in order to do this effectively, several methodological issues needed to be resolved during the research process.

First of all, a research consortiumwas selected to conduct the research, or more precisely, the two highest ranked bidders were asked to jointly undertake the research. This was the outcome of a political decision by the banks (see also p. 142, ‘Affiliation and conflicts of interest’), since the employers preferred one partner and the unions (employee representatives) preferred the other. The two competing research institutes, a private company specialising in stress at work and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), were required to co-operate and develop a level of trust in order to conduct the research. For example, both research institutes had different ideas as to which scale should be used in the questionnaire. They could not just combine the scales or include both scales, simply because they are supposed to measure the same concept. Furthermore, this would also make the questionnaire too complex. Therefore, the research institutes had to combine their knowledge, look for compromises and jointly work on a shared vision, which is, to say the least, rather time consuming.

A second obstacle that needed to be overcome was the sample(see Chapter 7). In total, 69,000 employees work for Belgian banks and it was decided that questioning all employees would be too complicated and too expensive. Therefore the research committee, consisting of representatives of the banks, the unions and the research consortium, opted for a cross-sectional design (p. 45) with a fixed sample of 15,000 employees (roughly 21%; see p. 187 ‘Absolute and relative sample size’).

In this sample, the small banks were over-represented. Within each bank, the respondents were selected at random with no particular quota for gender, age or employee level. In the postal survey (see p.231 ‘Self-completion questionnaire or postal questionnaire’) several steps were taken to improve the response rate (see p. 234 ‘Steps to improve response rates to postal questionnaire’; see also suggestions by Dillman, 1983). The survey was based on addresses which had been provided by the banks (name, language, address) and each employee randomly selected in the sample received a personalized envelope through regular mail, sent to him/her by the employer. The completed questionnaire needed to be returned (free of charge) through the internal post within each bank.

There are various logisticalproblems. The researchers had to travel to each bank to collect the completed questionnaires and due to the fact that in Belgium, part of the population speak Flemish (Dutch) and part speak French, two versions of the questionnaire needed to be available and then carefully translated and tested for the accuracy of their translation (see also Tips and skills, p.488: ‘Translating interview data’). The questionnaires were sent to the respondents’ home addresses, a French version if the respondent lived in the French part of Belgium, a Flemish version when living in Flanders. This prompted a series of angry calls when Flemish people, living in the French part, or vice versa, received a questionnaire that was not in their native language. Furthermore, Brussels is officially bi-lingual and, to complicate matters even more, contains many headquarters in which the main language spoken is ... English! In order to minimise attrition, it was important that these respondents received a questionnaire in their preferred language. Another logistical issue was the co-ordination and control of the distributed information. The Belgian banks, who were the research financers, chose a decentralised way of working, hence organizing a ‘sensibilization campaign’ within each bank whereby the researchers had to visit all the banks to explain the theoretical framework and the outline of the research to representatives of both employers and employees.

Additional initiatives to prompt a higher response rate were taken up by individual banks, or, more precisely, by some of the banks. The researchers were required to carefully follow-up on those initiatives implemented by the banks, to ensure that these initiatives remained both neutral and valid for the research. Some of these initiatives proved difficult to deal with due to the selective use of information that had been employed (e.g. letters forcing the employees to participate; or union campaigns to guide certain answers). Hence, the researchers had to be sensitive for the respective organisational cultures, while making sure they kept a neutral position towards all partners involved in the research.

Once the data collection was completed (response rate of 47.6%), the data handlingneeded much attention. A comprehensive check and double-check was conducted on wrong entries, filters, missing cells ... just to increase the reliability. One issue was the major difference in response rate between the banks. Due to a strong campaign, some banks reached a response rate of over 60%, whilst others barely reached 20% because they did nothing to increase the response rate.

A final issue occurred when presentingthe results. As mentioned above, the language issue is particularly important in Belgium to the extent that one even has to be concerned with the order of reporting and presenting (in terms of which language first).

A discussion arose concerning the graphs used in the report: using different axes can result in different perspectives, despite the fact that, statistically, the results obviously remain the same. In both figures below, the amount of people with stress is 5, whereas 10 have no stress. So the appearances can be deceptive

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Solution:

  1. Using two research institutes in the research will be a major problem for the entire research process. There are various aspects of a research process which are data collection instruments, research scales, data analysis techniques, sample size, sampling techniques, etc. When two institutes will get involved into a research then there will be problems in deciding all these tools and techniques. Both the institutes will have different opinion on all these aspects and which will further cause confusion and waste of time. For an instance the tow institutes are suggesting different scales for the research. Now it is not possible to combine two types of scales in one single research otherwise the results of the research will get altered. It will be very necessary to come to consensus for both the institutes. Similarly, there are a number of tools for the analysis of the data and again both the institutes will have different opinions about the selection of the tools. This will further affect the results of the research. It is also mentioned in the situation that sampling technique is also not uniform and all institutes are using different techniques which can again put a question mark on the entire research. In this way two institutes for a single research will prove to be fatal for the final results of the research.

There are many problems of the involvement of the banks in the research design and sampling. It has been noted that there are around 69,000 employees working in the Belgian banks and the institutes suggested that it is not possible to collect the data from all of them. This is because of the fact that there is limited time and limited budget. Due to this the committee of the research has decided to collect the data from 15,000 employees. But the problem here is that it was not decided whether it will be relative sampling or absolute sampling. In this sample the small banks were over represented. An ideal sample is the one which is represented by all the respondents equally. Due to the random selection of the banks this problem aroused. The sample shall be decided on the basis of particular quota i.e. in accordance with the income, gender or employee level. This also affected the response rate. All the elements of research design that are sampling technique, research approach, data collection data and data analysis got affected because of this.

  1. The sample size in a research denotes the number of respondents that will participate in a research. There are a number of methods to determine the sample size for a research. These methods are relative and absolute sample sizes. There are two major terms that are necessary to mention while discussing about the sample size of the research. These terms are true population value and confidential interval. These terms help in deciding the absolute and relative samples for a research. The true population value is the actual value of a population parameter. This is something that an investigator wishes to capture with the use of the research study (Lushey, 2015). For an instance the absolute mean can be known for this research by undertaking this example. The research institute wants to know about the level o job satisfaction among employees working in Belgian banks. The research committee also knows that the true rate of job satisfaction is unlikely to exceed 20%. The research committee wants to estimate the prevalence to within 5% points of the true value with 95% confidence. Keeping in view all these facts the sample size will be calculated as :

Anticipated population proportion: 20 %

Confidence level: 95%

Absolute precision: (15% -25%)

5 percentage points

For P = .20 and d= .05

The relative precision can be calculated with the help of another method. In this the research committee expects that the level of job satisfaction is not below 50% . The question here is that how many employees must be studied if the estimate is to be fall within 10% of the true proportion with confidence of 95%

The anticipated population here is 50 %

Confidence level: 95%

Relative precision (from 45% to 55%)

In this manner the terms absolute precision is used by an investigator when he wishes to determine the population parameter to be within the defined percentage of true value, while relative precision is used by an investigator when the investigator wishes to ascertain the population parameter to be within the defined percentage. The sample size for this research shall be more than 15,000 because the response rate is just 47.6%. This means that around 7000 respondents have contributed to the research out of 69,000 employees which is very less. In this manner the sample size shall be 28,000 employees.

 

  1. Data collection in real social context is very crucial and significant aspect of a research. The process of data collection gets affected by various issues like time, budget and politics. It is very important for a researcher to deal with these problems effectively to ethically conduct the research practices. The effects of politics can be seen on the decision made by the bank. While selecting a research consortium the two highest bidders were asked to jointly undertake the research. This is because of the reason that the employees preferred one partner and the union preferred another. Due to the preferences of employees and unions two bodies for research have been made. The two bodies have different opinions about the research aspects and due to that the research process also suffered. This is about only one decision. Various other decisions in the research have also been affected. The decision for sample size also got affected because of the budget and the time. The research committee had fixed budget and they had to finish the research in that budge only. With this the time available with the researchers was also less and they were willing to accomplish their research in that particular time frame only. By keeping in mind these two aspects the research committee has taken a fixed sample of 15,000. There is a way to determine the sample size but the committee did not use any scientific method rather the decision was affected by time and budget Except for these factors there were other decision of research committee being affected by the politics and social context (Birch, 2013).Another example is of sending surveys in two languages because of the difference in the societies and the not able to reach the respondents and getting only 47% response at the end because of the less efforts of some banks. This is how a researcher has to make proper arrangements for the data collection process by undertaking proper planning and make several compliances that are required to be followed by all the stakeholders. If the researcher wants to nullify the effects of politics then it is very important to follow ethical research practices and also review them from time to time. This way the decisions in the research will not get affected because of the politics or any other aspect of social context.
  2. The sampling method denotes a technique or a method that is undertaken by a researcher to determine the size of the sample for the purpose of the research. An optimum sample is the one that depicts equal representation of the entire population. A population is made up of various users and all of them belong to different context. In the present study the population of the research is made of employees working in Belgian banks. Now, there are some small banks, medium banks and large banks. All the banks will have different practices related to human resources and due to the difference in the practices of the banks the level of job satisfaction in all the banks will be different. To get the better results of the research it is very important for a researcher to ensure that all the employees or sample shall have equal representation from small banks, medium banks and large banks. But in this research study, the sample is overrepresented by small banks. This clearly shows that the method of sampling used by the researcher is not a good method. A good method never over-represents and aspect and at the same time never under-represents any aspect. This will lead to wrong conclusions and the results of the research. The results of this research may not have any implications o some banks. For an instance the result suggested that the amount of people with stress is 5 and 10 have no stress. This figure is totally deceptive. It may also be possible that the employees working in small banks have more stress than the employees working in large banks and the employees working in large banks may be totally free from the stress. Now when the results will arrive , the results will be applies to all the banks because the researcher thinks that it is the opinion of all the employees and this is why it is important to apply this result on all the parties equally. In this way it is very important for a researcher to adopt a significant technique for sampling so as to ensure that the entire population is equally represented (Mantos, 2012).The most popular and significant methods of sapling are probability sampling and non-probability sampling in these types of sampling techniques there are other sampling techniques like snowball sampling, judgemental sampling, convenience sampling, simple random sampling, stratified sampling, etc. It depends upon the sample size and the purpose of the research that which sampling technique will be the most suitable for the research so as to determine the optimum sample for the study.
  3. The major purpose with which the research has been undertaken is to find the relationship between job characteristics and job satisfaction. The biases in the study affect the data collection. The biases include random selection of employees for the purpose of data collection; the employees have not been selected on the basis of employee level, age or gender. For the postal survey the employees were randomly selected and sent the survey on their address given by the banks. The major problem that the researchers had faced here is of the language. Belgium is the country with two languages and the most significant bias here is of language bias. The part population speak Flemish (Dutch) and part population speak French. This is why the questionnaire was required to be prepared in these two languages. The most notable point here is to translate it in such a way that the maintaining of the questions shall not get affected. It is important to ensure the accuracy of the survey forms. The questionnaires were sent to the home address if the respondent lived in French part then he is sent a French erosion of the questionnaire and if the respondent lived in Flanders then he is being sent the Flemish version of the questionnaire. But many respondents received different versions. To reduce the bias it was very important for the researcher to send make sure that the employees are receiving the questionnaire in the correct language. Moreover to reduce the biasness of the data it is also necessary for the researchers to have it represented equally by the entire population(MacKenzie & Scott, 2003). The individual banks also undertook initiatives to increase the response rate but it has been done by only a few banks and due to that response rate from some banks was very good while from other banks it was awful. The union campaigns also guided for certain answers and forced employees to participate in the research. The bias in data collection can be reduced by using the language that everyone can easily understand, by ensuring equal representation and by making sure that there is voluntary participation of the employees in the research.

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