Critical Evaluation of the research methodologies
|✅ Paper Type: Free Essay||✅ Subject: Human Resources|
|✅ Wordcount: 3388 words||✅ Published: 1st Jan 2015|
In this report I have critically reviewed the methodologies which are used by Chevrier in her research paper. In this paper I have revealed whether she has used the correct methodology for her research or not, whether her evidence support her findings or not and I have mentioned an alternative methods to improve her conclusion.
Chevrier paper aims at better understanding the dynamics of international project groups and she focuses on how project leaders manage the cultural differences to overcome and to use national cultures, ethnic diversity efficiently and effectively in the multinational project team. In her research she has depict three kinds of cross-cultural practices which were implemented by the project leaders. With these findings she has proposed a strategy to enhance the functioning of cross-cultural projects.
I think the methodology which she has used in this research i.e. Case study is largely fine but not an effective one instead of this if she had used Grounded theory methodology for this research it would have been much more better research.
I argue that the three case studies which she has chosen is not a typical one of all the multinational project groups.
I argue that the Data collection technique which she has used in this research i.e. informal discussion is not a good technique to collect the data from participant.
I argue that the strategy which she has proposed doesn’t hold good for all types of cross-cultural project groups.
2. Literature review:
Research can be a tricky, fascinating, awkward, tedious, annoying, hilarious, confusing, disturbing, mechanical, sociable, isolating, surprising, sweaty, messy, systematic, costly, draining, iterative, contradictory, open-ended process (Anthias, 2002)
Methodology is identical to a research model employed by a researcher in a particular project, including basic knowledge related to the subject and research methods in question and the framework employed in a particular context (Sarantakos, 1998 cited Lather, 1992:87).
Sarantakos (1998) relates the nature of Methodology to a theoretical and more abstract context, and perceives it in conjuction with distinctive, unidimensional, and mutually exclusive theoretical principles. Methodologies offers the research principles which are related closely to a distinct paradigm translated clearly and accurately, down to guidelines on acceptable research practices. Methodology is determined not by the research model but rather by principles of research entailed in a paradigm.
Case-study research involves studying individual cases, often in their natural environment, and for a long period of time and employs a number of methods of data collection and analysis. (Sarantakos, 1998 cited Kromrey, 1986:320)
3. Critical Analysis of her Methodology:
In this research the Methodology which is used by Chevrier is Case study. I think to do this research– survey studies or experimental strategies will be too complex to implement, this is the main reason for Sylvie to choose Case study as the Methodology for this research.
Generally case studies are done by a researcher when he/she is interested in the structure, process and outcomes of a single unit. (Sarantakos, 1998)
Case studies are done by a researcher when he/she wants to extract data from a single field of study.
Here Chevrier has chosen Engineering (i.e. three Project groups) as a field of study in which she has extracted the data and processed into information in which it will fit into the research topic. But this research topic demands to do study on all different kinds of field; but Sylvie hasn’t done it, this is the main drawback of this research paper.
In this research Chevrier focuses on how project leaders deal with cultural differences to surmount and even benefit from the variety of national cultures in their team. They have studied three cross-cultural practices that the project leaders explicitly or implicitly use to manage their international team and also studied the related outcomes from these practices.
I think some methods and techniques which are used by Chevrier in her research paper doesn’t holds good to the research topic.
I think the samples(case studies) which she has chosen for this research doesn’t sounds well because she has chosen only three international project groups to study the cross-cultural practices which are implemented in the team and moreover all these three project groups has the same background i.e. engineering. I believe just three project groups of the same background will not give a good weightage to her research paper. This is mainly because other than these three project groups there are different types of multinational project groups in which they are directly related to the cross-cultural management which I think she should have taken into this research paper.
This research paper is pointing towards Multinational groups– but the project groups which she has chosen has only people who are from European countries and Brasil, it misses out people who are from Asia, Africa and Australia.
In this field work data is collected from Formal interviews, attendance to their meetings as a participant observer and informal discussions. I think the Primary data obtained from the formal interviews with project leaders and project members will be useful to analyse the data in this research and this data is important because the members of the project groups are the one who will be following cross-cultural practices and they will be knowing whether these practices are useful or not .
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In her research she has used participant observer as a data collection technique. I think it is a good technique for collecting the data in this research. Since her team will be a part of the cross-cultural group so they can observe easily how the team members/managers will behave and whether they are following the cross-cultural practices or not. They have attended even meetings to collect the data I think this is the place where they might have got a good data because this is a place where they can observe whether the managers and leaders are following cross-cultural practices or are they giving any importance to it or not. Chevrier and her team was also present daily among the project groups particularly for project 1(for 2 project weeks) and project 2(for 2 ½ months), I think daily presence in a project group is important because generally people won’t behave same way in every time/day and also we can’t judge their behaviour on cross-cultural practices in a single day. So daily presence in a project group will give a good data for the researcher but interesting point in her data collection is she or her team was not present daily for project team 3 but they were present only in project team 1 & 2 and that to in project team 1 they were present daily with team for just 2 ‘project weeks’, so I don’t think within these 2 weeks they have collected a strong data because in just 2 weeks it is less practical to summarize their behaviour. I think the primary data which they have collected in project team 2 will be useful because for 2 ½ months they were daily present with the team so with this time they will be in a better position to judge their behaviour with respect to cross-cultural.
I also think that the Informal discussion which she has used in this research is not an effective technique. I agree this technique partially and I also disagree partially. I think this technique should be used depending on the situation in the working environment; if the working environment is not so good then there is no use of having discussion with them because the interviewee may give answers simply just to pass time. I think they should use only when the team members are in a good mood and moreover this discussions will take place mainly during lunch time of the employees, this is the time where most of the employee will relax, spend time with their colleagues and chat with them, if Chevrier and her group starts to discuss with these employees then most of them won’t be interested and they will just say something or they will give less answers so that the discussion will be over fast.
She has analysed the collected data by Cutting of Tran scripted interviews and meeting notes by theme. She has prepared a monograph for each and every theme which I think it’s a good idea and it will be useful for comparing all the themes. This type of comparison will help to find out the common and uncommon features of all the cases
4. Will her evidence support her findings?
I think the evidence which she has used in Case 1 will support her findings. This is a project group of European consortium set up to make R&D in the telecommunication industry. The contract which is signed by these companies designates one company as a primary contractor which will appoint a project leader among its engineers.
We know that the newly appointed project leader has no hierarchical authority over the other partners due to this — he/she cannot demand anything from other partners, infact he/she can’t expect that other partners will involve totally (100% commitment) in this project and there is also a possibility that this may also lead to lack of institutional management with the other partners. In this project the leader has to take some technical decisions in which sometimes it may not be accepted by the other partners as she found this from Northern Europe and especially from Scandinavia that they only speak up when they disagree with what is being said. These project groups were not totally involved in the project. In this case the project leader has no choice he has to tolerate with these kinds of partners. This is what Chevrier has found that the leader explicitly or implicitly relies on tolerance of team members to surmount difficulties.
The project group (R&D consortium) has people from different countries; definitely all of them will have different opinion on Cross-cultural activity. Some may tolerate the diversity and some may not. Chevrier has found out different opinions from the interviewees e.g. In multinational teams some team members tend to forget the nationality of their colleague to focus on technical issues. Oppositely, the second part of interviewees says that they make their best to struggle against prejudices, stereotypes and ethnocentrism.
In the 2nd case of Chevrier it is said that the greatest difficulty for the project manager is to make the work required for his own project a priority for team members who are very much in demand. If this is the case most of the manager tries to protect his team members to work in his project because every manager will have some task to complete, so to do this task without skilled workers in his team it will be difficult for him to complete it. If the manager couldn’t maintain these workers in his team then there is every chance of showing less interest in the project. This is what happened to Swiss manager as it is told in Chevrier paper that “Swiss manager straightforwardly declared he did not want to make any difference and was careful to manage all team members the same way.” Chevrier has also backed up this argument by giving the reference of Laurent (1998), “we observed that when managers encounter cross-cultural differences, they often do nothing and consider that it is legitimate not to talk about them.”
In case 1 the main job of the project leader is to maintain a strong institutional management with the other partners. Since the leader doesn’t have the hierarchical authority over the other partners it will be difficult to manage all the other partners. His main job is to get the task done, since he doesn’t has the upper hand over other project members it will be difficult for him to give orders for other groups to complete the job. In chevrier’s research, for this problem she has founded that “developing personal relationship with one another in a team will set up working arrangements more easily. If they know each other very well, it will help them to become acquainted with one other”. This strategy will suit only for R&D consortium project group because in this project all its partners doesn’t know each other so this strategy may enable effective mutual agreements between all the partners.
But it doesn’t suit for Electrical engineering project infact it can reinforce negative stereotypes and polarization between cultural groups. This is true because in this project the Swiss manager straightforwardly declared that he did not want to make any difference and was interested to manage all team members the same way, if this strategy (developing personal relationship) is implemented in this project group it may result in other way because due to less involvement by Swiss manger there is a more chance of negative stereotypes and polarization between cultural groups. This may lead in such a way that project may not complete.
The strategy which is proposed in this paper by Chevrirer (cultural mediator) suits good for some multinational project groups but for some project groups it doesn’t. Since in this strategy cultural mediator has to invite the project members quite regularly to find out the exact problem, this is possible only when all the project members are meeting together quite regularly at some place but this strategy cannot be applied to some multi-national groups where the project members won’t meet regularly. However, in a multi national group most of the time the project groups will be from different countries so it is not practical to implement this strategy because all groups are from different countries and also it will be difficult for all the members to attend the meeting if it is put up by cultural mediator.
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As we can see in R&D consortium group all the team members meet each other only four or five times a year. During these weeks all the project members will be busy with other partners about their plan and objectives in their project. So if this strategy is applied to this group then cultural mediator will not find sufficient time to spend with the team members to talk about their problematic situations which have encountered.
I think this strategy can be applied to the project team in electrical engineering because this team is composed of a project manager, engineers who are all located in a single building but in a different floor. In this team cultural mediator can easily set up a meeting with the team members and find out the problematic situations which have encountered.
Even in the product development project have subsidiaries which are located in different countries such as Germany, France, Belgium and Italy and co-ordinating the development process is in charge by ‘‘central group” which is located in the French subsidiary. So even in this project group cultural mediator will find difficult to set up a meeting to talk about their problematic situations which have encountered.
I think she has not justified all the problems which will occur in the multinational group. For e.g.— Race can be a problem in the group. Merriam et.al. in their research has found that “Racism was the specific dominating factor in cross cultural groups”.
Color – As an issue of concern amongst Blacks, colorism is examined and debated in Black communities in a less than open manner. This intraracial discrimination among Blacks gives preferential treatment to those who have lighter skin shades. (Merriam et.al)
5. Alternative Methodology:
I think Grounded theory analysis will be a better approach for this research because in this research topic we need to analyse more number of case studies, interviews and observation so I think grounded theory will be the best methodology for this research.
Another reason for using grounded theory techniques is “Grounded theorising is well suited to capturing the interpretive experiences of owner/managers/employees and developing theoretical propositions from them.” Rowlands B. (2005 cited from Strauss & Corbin 1990)
From the above reason we can say that, Since Chevrier’s research is related to the cross-cultural practices which are followed by Leaders, Managers, and Team members, so this methodology will be very useful in gathering and analysing the data.
Similarly, Grounded theory has been effectively used in recent Information System research to develop theory of Information System practice. Rowlands B. (2005 cited from Urquhart et.al., 1997)
In choosing the International project groups Chevrier has chosen the groups in which all groups has the same background i.e. Engineering. Instead of choosing three project groups from a single background she could have chosen three project groups from different fields. Because choosing a sample project group which is typical to that environment is very important and the data collected from this typical one will bee much stronger than the data which she has collected from the three Engineering project groups.
I think Ethnographic interview will be useful to get valuable data from the interviewee. The main aim of this type of interview is to study the Culture of the people and to find out how it will impact on the people behaviour. “It aims to discover or understand the culture of people in their social environment and of explaining the social justification of their role and position in that culture.”(Sarantakos, 1998). This interview would have helped her in finding the culture of the project members/leaders and based on her understanding on their culture she could have compared with the Cross-cultural practices which were implemented by the management and she could have got a better result.
If Chevrier had used all the above methodology in her research, I think this would have improved her research conclusion.
In this paper I have revealed that the methodology which is used by chevrier for her research is not a good one. I have shown that some of her methodology which she has used is not effective with respect to the research. The three case study which she has chosen in her research is not a typical one because all the case studies had the same background i.e. Engineering, instead of that she could have chosen case studies which are from different background and I also showed that the data collected from participant observation in project group 2 was strong. I showed that the data collected from informal discussion technique was not good. This paper reveals that Ethnographic interview and Grounded theory would have helped her to collect the strong data and to analyse the data which she has collected. I have shown that up to what extent of her evidence will support her findings. In this paper I have also concluded that her proposed strategy will holds good only if all the project members/groups are in the same company or at least in the same country, it doesn’t suit if all the project members/groups are in a different countries.
Sarantakos S.,(1998).Social reseach, 2nd edition, Macmillan Education: Australia, Chapter 8, pp 33,191,251.
Floya Anthias,( 2002) Where do I belong?: Narrating collective identity and translocational positionality, [Online]
Accessed from: http://etn.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/2/4/491
[Accessed on: 05/11/07]
Merriam S., et.al., Power and Positionality: Negotiating Insider/Outsider Status
in Multicultural and Cross-Cultural Research, [Online]
Accessed from: http://merriamsetal1-final.pdf
[Accessed on: 05/11/07]
Rowlands B., (2005), Grounded in Practice: Using Interpretive Research to Build Theory, [Online]
Accessed from: http://v3-i1-art7-rowlands.pdf
[Accessed on: 03/12/07]
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