Managers encounter business problems each day at work. To make the right decisions, they thoroughly have to research the business problem at hand. For example, a banker may wonder why a particular financial investment is not paying off. A management accountant may query why the firm’s largest customers are becoming less profitable each year. A marketing channel manager may question why home delivery is taking off in the home market but not in the neighboring countries. A human resource manager may ponder why employees are dissatisfied with the firm’s performance-appraisal system. Problems of moderate difficulty may be researched by the manager him- or herself. For the more complex business problems, the manager may turn to an “expert researcher” (e.g., an external consultant or an internal researcher) to study the problem and offer solutions.|
Regardless of whether you will be doing the research yourself or will bring in a third party to do the research for you, you will need a strong grasp of the fundamentals of business research in order to be able to understand and control your environment. There is no doubt that managers with knowledge of research have a substantial lead over those without. Accordingly, the purpose of this course is to get you acquainted with the fundamentals of researching a business problem.
Our objective is to inculcate in you the (1) knowledge and (2) skills needed to perform/understand research. In terms of knowledge, in the first two modules of the course (“Research Process”), we will explain the building blocks of (scientifically-sound) business research and provide you with a roadmap of the research process. In the remaining modules of the course (“Research Strategies”), we will introduce you to a wide variety of data-collection strategies – ranging from archival over survey to experimental research – that each come with their own advantages and limitations.|
Your research skills will be trained in two ways. First, your skills will be trained in tutorials. We will work on problems and cases that will allow you to dive deeper into the various stages of the research process. These tutorials will challenge you to adopt a critical attitude. Second, your skills with respect to the various research strategies will be trained in a number of web-based assignments.