Author Topic: A Realistic Way for Business Research  (Read 169 times)


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A Realistic Way for Business Research
« on: December 09, 2020, 07:41:50 PM »
Research Paradigms:In the existing literature, positivism and interpretivism appear to be the research paradigms that are applied to explore truth and fact of the world by both academician and practitioner. The two stances dominate epistemology.Positivism It is likely that the "natural scientist" can be one of the roles to describe the positivist stance of research. The positivist takes a rational thought to know the world that it is always external and objective. "Positivism holds that an accurate and value-free knowledge of things are possible. It holds out the possibility that human beings and their actions and institutions can be studied as objectively as the natural world." (Fisher, 2003). The positivist is trying to look for laws and find out causality through objective analysis of the facts that have been collected. "The researcher is independent of and neither affects nor effected by the subject of the research."(Remenyi et al., 1998,)InterpretivismIn contrast with our perceptions on positivism, interpretivists always take a phenomenological paradigm, holding a view that the world is subjective. Researcher holding inerpretivism, opposite to deductive approach, will rather take the inductive approach in which the theory is developed through data analysis. Interpretivists attach importance to the "meaning" and "tries to understand what is happening "(Easterby-Smith, 2002) and are likely to argue that" rich insights into this complex world are lost if complexity of social world is reduced entirely to a series of law-like generalizations" (Mark Sauders et al, 2003). A "realistic" way for the research in a particular business context. With perceptions of the classification between the two epistemological positions, it would be easy to get indulged into the struggle as to which research philosophy should be adopted in the research for business decision making. Drawing dividing line of the two paradigms can lead to insights of the underlying attributes of the two paradigms. However, overemphasis of difference of the two research paradigms might, in a way, constrain business researcher's flexibility in choosing research approaches. It is then important for business researcher not only to stick to one epistemological position within a particular business environment. Apart from seeking validity and reliability for the research result, business researcher also need to attempt to apply a more "realistic" way in the whole research process, with an aim to find out important information which serves for management's decision making. As known from the "Research Process Onion" proposed by Mark Sauders et al(2003), it would be meaningless to stay at the outer layer with the inner layers remained. Hence, it can be argued that the most important thing is that researcher needs to go into the layers and achieve our research objectives through any appropriate research approaches.

In the specific business context, it is recommended that researchers opt for a more "realistic" way in carrying out the research that both of the paradigms co-exist in the research project to achieve the expected goals. "Business and management research is often a mixture between positivist and interpretivist, perhaps reflecting the stance of realism", and "which is 'better depends on that research question(s) you are seeking to answer." (Mark Sauders, et al, 2003). References: 1, Esterby-Smith, M, (2002), Management Research, 2nd Edition, London SAGE 2, Fisher, Colin (2003), Research and Writing a Dissertation for Business Students, FT Prentice Hall 3, Remenyi et al (1998), Doing Research in Business and Management; an Introduction to Process and Method, London, SAGE4, Sauders M et al, (2003) Research method for business students, Harlow: FT Prentice Hall

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