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3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The aim of this research is to help businesses to appreciate the need to capture and preserve their employees' loyalty. Employee loyalty is commitment of the employees to the achievement of the firm. Loyal employees generally believe that working for this company is in their best interest. The research will help the organizations to understand the strategies of making the employees remain with the organization. The employees are basically satisfied with the company and are not quick to respond to offers from other organizations.
During the carrying out of this study, a planned research has been employed. To start with, a detailed literature review of the obtainable information on employee loyalty has been used to assist the researcher to have a clear picture of what he is looking for. Qualitative research technique has been used to collect the primary data. This data is then evaluated considering the conventional theory to achieve the objectives.
Experts suggest that employee loyalty is more than just tenure with the same company. It entails the tendency of the employees wanting to be there too. It leads to customer loyalty and eventually organizational success. The results of this research are very significant because it is important to understand the nature of the employees in an organization. Different studies agree that employees are an essential resource for virtually all organizations. This is especially because they represent a considerable asset in the firm.
As far as the plan of the research is concerned, the aims and the objectives, literature review and its outcomes have been covered in the previous chapters.The summary of the methodology and tools that have been used through out the research period are provided in this chapter. The justification of the implementation of the study is also given in detail. Exclusively, it covers the procedure of how the research methodology have been made and utilized in this work. A thorough picture along with the justifications of the measured research philosophy, research approach, and techniques for data collection has been provided. Secondary data and primary data, sample, process of collection of data and data analysis has been covered. Finally, the reliability, validity and the ethical issues of the collected data together with the research limitations of the study will be discussed.
3.2. Research Philosophy
In the research of employee loyalty, these are the philosophical factors which affect the research activity. This is mainly because the comprehension of these thoughtful issues has its impact on both research design and the procedure of the research conduction (Easterby-Smith et al., 2002). Furthermore the preference of the research values sways the connection between the information and the procedure by which it is created.
Generally, research philosophies are categorized into two types, which are positivism and phenomenology. The chief idea of the former is that the communal world is external and therefore, its characteristics are supposed to be measured objectively.
In addition positivism is frequently chosen by the technical researchers. In this case, quantitative data is evaluated apart from the interpretations of scientists. Conversely the phenomenological viewpoint focuses on community and believes that the establishment of the world is socially made and is subjective by nature. In this case, the researcher is convinced that it is more about the observation, situation and the circumstances as a whole, looking into little samples exhaustively (Easterby-Smith et al. 2002).
The origin of phenomenology or interpretivism is the social sciences whereby the researchers look into the proceedings from inside. The researchers are then able to perceive the meanings of the happenings following their personal interpretations with an inductive approach. According to studies it is allowed to understand that implementation of a positivist prototype will enable a focus on the facts, hypotheses formulation and practice of large samples to test them. This will be followed by a diminution of the phenomenon to the simplest elements (Saunders et al., 2007). By distinction, phenomenological looms focus more on the meaning as opposed to facts and figures or a mix of both quantitative and qualitative methods (Veal, 1997).
Studies reveal that positivism with quantitative technique has constantly been ideal for business researches. In this study, it is essential to put into consideration that quantitative data never matches with the reasoning of the consumers. In studies that are concerned with the behaviors of the consumers, phenomenology with qualitative methods has been comprehensively accepted. In addition this viewpoint is further flexible than positivism. This suggests that drawing generalizations from the data collected is not significant, when carrying out an important piece of research.
Experts assert that the business and tourism social world is more complicated and includes well-off insight into the mentioned multifaceted situation could not be possible by basic generalizations (Saunders et al., 2007). Phenomenology which is also regarded as a less limited philosophy enables examination in line to get a good understanding of the actions and intentions of the deliberate participants. It is therefore thought that the best applicable philosophy for the study will be the phenomenology. This is because this approach has its origin in the social sciences (Gill and Johnson, 1997).
When conducting an employee loyalty analysis, studies shows that it is related to customer loyalty. Studies suggest that employee loyalty cannot be determined by direct questioning. Whether or not the employee is an active member, loyalty is more than just a behavior and this is related to customer loyalty. Though it is challenging employee loyalty can be measured by use of valid measurement techniques. Research indicates that a model can be tested and proven to explain employee loyalty.
The model includes information that shows loyalty levels and includes specifics about the employee relationship. The information can be used to improve actions meant to improve loyalty levels. The analysis of employee loyalty include three major components which include constructing the loyalty profile, comprehending employees' perspectives and perceptions of their relationship with their employer, finding out the extent to which the company can improve relations with their employees.
The researcher will be aided with a much wider and thorough insight of the working motivations of the employees. The participants will give with an initial point and in accordance to that the researcher will be able to assess, understand and find out the whole situation along with the reasons for it. Use of this advance will also add towards the development of new theories. This specific philosophy will ease the work as it will be less formal and controlled.
3.3. Research Approach
The research approach of this study will basically rely on the adopted research philosophy. The two major research approaches considered by researchers' include deductive and inductive approach. Collins and Hussey (2009) explain that deduction and Induction are the logic of the research, not considering whether it moves from the all-purpose to the specific or vice-versa. Studies depict that academic work employing positivism phenomenology is usually connected to a deductive approach.
In deductive advance, the researchers use a hypothesis from a theory and test it and at the end scrutinize the data. The indispensable feature of deductive advance is the changeover of scientific regulations from theory to examination and the compilation of quantitative data and the requirement of choosing samples of adequate size in order to take a broad view of the conclusions'. In detailed manner, it is all about focusing on examining and coming up with theories by use of experimental observations, with the purpose of moving from obtainable reference to particular situation.
Research suggests that it is important for any researcher to choose adequate numerical size samples in line to simplify about regularities in the social human behavior. Moreover, inductive advance entails coming up with the theory after looking at experimental authenticity which is absolute opposite of the deductive method. It is chiefly concerned with the compilers pursuing the meanings of specific occurrences as far as human behavior is concerned, that is phenomenological research philosophy. The chief characteristic of this method is that the researchers frequently become the part of the study and the process of obtaining and evaluating the qualitative data (Saunders et al., 2007).
After analyzing the pertinent theories connected to employee loyalty behavior, it occurred that tis specific research work would possess a deductive approach. Nevertheless, deficiency of any hypothesis and the investigative nature of the study with a phenomenological philosophy including the liberty of evaluating the nature of employees lead to consideration of the inductive approach. Furthermore, researchers stress that distinctiveness of inductive advance is exceedingly dependable with the phenomenological approach.
3.4. Data Collection Techniques
Experts suggest consideration of both the research topic and approach while choosing the techniques for data collection. For this research, it is essential to consider both secondary and primary data collection techniques. A valid technique for measuring employee loyalty can be adopted although challenging and can be used to explain loyalty. Information identifying loyalty levels and specific characteristics of an employee is contained in the model.
3.4.1. Secondary data
Already existing information that was collected for some other primary research reason is called secondary data. This data is utilized in the ongoing research work and essentially helps to increase rational and methodical thinking skills by coming into contact with the suggestions and views of the researchers. In addition, secondary data aids in obtaining new ideas and helps to put together inputs with active ideas.
Obtaining and assessing secondary data helps the researcher to broaden the awareness about the subject of study. Moreover, it stimulates self-sufficient thoughts and in most cases, research entails a part to evaluate what has been previously done till date by other studies (Finn et al., 2000).
Most of the academic data associated with this study has been gotten from refereed educational and experimental journals, books based upon employee behaviour and some professional business management journals. Furthermore, considerable quantity of data was obtained to augment the perception about the employees' loyalty. Nevertheless data utilized in this research was used after significant examination. This is in agreement with a detailed discussion in the chapter for review of literature.
As suggested by previous research, collection of secondary data helped the researcher to consider the theoretical objectives and substantive issues of employee loyalty. Moreover, collecting of secondary data in depth rather than just concentrating on the practical and procedural problems of data collection. It also helped to transit the researcher's concentration from individual data subjects to a broader analysis of social conditions and change over a long period of time. Finally, secondary data also aids in terms of evaluation with the data collected by other research methodology (Finn et al., 2000)
3.4.2. Primary data
The researcher has used a qualitative data collection technique since the early stages on the foundation of the understanding and necessity. This is because it is impossible to quantify or impartially assess human behavior by the using quantitative techniques. Use of qualitative methods of data collection provides the researcher with a chance to get full understanding and acquaintance of what the contributor or the respondent really says and means. In definite words it is gaining the important familiarity of social life.
Moreover, the primary data enables the researcher to utilize numerous sources of data and a diversity of study methods to investigate the research questions. This enables the findings or conclusions to be more convincing and accurate. On the basis of the decision of having a qualitative data collection technique, the researcher found the interview as the most suitable qualitative method for the dissertation among the other the data collection techniques.
Studies agree that Interviews are the most appropriate means for gaining comprehensive understanding of any topic related human behavior and this includes employee loyalty. The factual significance of interview is a dialogue where views and information of the interviewer and interviewee is passed by while talking about a topic of mutual interest. This specific method of data collection helps to comprehend the topic from the employee's opinion. It helps to clarify and discover the employee's experiences preceding scientific explanations. Moreover, it gives the researcher the possibility to adjust his inquiring style, following up the motivating feedback and fundamental motives of the employee.
Most of the preceding researches on the behaviour of the employees have been based on quantitative data collection procedures. Usage of interviews in this research will lead the researcher to discover more about the loyalty of the employees while finding out any credible new insights in their specific organizations. Additionally, interviews are more appropriate for comparatively lesser sample sizes and interviewing is possible in any location and at any time, with diverse individuals. This is well applicable for collecting data related to employee loyalty in different organizations.
Following the above argument the significance as well as the benefit of using interview as a data collection technique in this particular research is quite evident. Nevertheless, the principal concern for the researcher was to consider the precise nature of interview. Basically, interviews can be structured, semi-structure or in detail. Structured interviews are frequently performed with a set of questions where no alterations are possible during the interview session. In this type of interviews, researches are able to identify the general patterns and compare the participant answers easily. The same are more formal in nature and are suitable for descriptive and explanatory studies.
The questions for semi-structured interviews are always taken from a list of themes which are common for every session, but according to the situation and requirement, the researchers have the autonomy to sequence, change or even leave out questions during the session. Furthermore, the probes permit the researcher to have an in detail perception of the area from the participant's point of view and the clarification of questions enhances the dependability of the collected data.
Exhaustive interviews in contrast can be compared with a conversation on a casual basis, as it lacks the concept of having a prearranged set of questions. The benefit of considering this qualitative method is that the researcher has the ability to look at any particular area and elaborate on it. Nevertheless, there are also probability of the researcher and the contributor of deviating from the topic or the purpose of the dissertation. The interviewer and the participant may talk about other aspects of the organization that have very little to do with the participant's loyalty to the organization.
For this research, semi-structured interviews are chosen because of their feasibility and ability to be rearranged or re-structured.
Sampling is the process of selecting an adequate number of people from a population whom these individuals represent to present data about the population. For this research, different samples are taken from different companies to determine their loyalty. There are a broad range of sampling methods obtainable which assists the researcher to decrease the quantity of data needed to collect and also to collect data from a sub-group rather than all possible cases or elements.
When carrying out this research it is important to ensure that the sampling technique does not cause any prejudice on the selection of the employees along with the reliability of the data collected. Additionally, it is also essential to guarantee that the features of the selected research sample are an applicable depiction of the total population of the employees, to guarantee the soundness, accurateness and dependability of the data collected.
The variety of diverse sampling methods can be categorized into two groups including probability sampling and the non-probability sampling. Considering the probability method, researchers are able to indicate the probability of as well as any individual in the sample, as the sample is the representative of the whole population. On the contrary, any sampling plan where it is not expected to apply the above process can be termed as non-probability sampling.
Since it is necessary to apply a suitable research sample for the result of the study and the small scale qualitative investigation, non-probability sampling method has been selected for this dissertation. According to studies conducted on sampling methods, non-probability sampling system gives an information rich case study in which one can investigate the question of the research. Other studies suggest that to integrate this sort of sampling technique, there are three criterions which need to be satisfied. To begin with, the sample must fit to the chosen subject which in this case is the employee loyalty, following this, the accessibility of the participants and ultimatelly is the readiness of the employees to take part in the research work. Specifically, mounting sampling technique has been utilized in this study work as potential participants representing the population are scattered and are fro different organizations. Furthermore due to the lack of a prearranged sampling frame, the researcher chose to use this kind of sampling, where each employee interviewed was asked to propose other participants.
3.6. Data Collection Process
Access to the participants to be interviewed was gained through the snow-ball technique as stated in the previous section. Each employee was asked to propose the next participant, a process also termed as chain referral. During data collection, each employee was contacted well in advance. All the participants were given a brief write up, explaining the nature of the research.
The participants were asked questions concerning their relationships with the company and their employers. They were then asked to express their satisfaction with their career and commitment to their organization. Some general information like the age, gender and working duration of the employee were recorded. This helped to determine how much they were committed to work for the organization and their loyalty to the organization.
The time before carrying out the fieldwork was dedicated to inspect the literature and to find out what has been found out in previous studies. This was also done to investigate which aspects are not yet covered properly in that specific field. Based on the literature review and theoretical framework, themes were created followed by question on each section. A pilot interview was carried out after all the arrangements which focused on one organization. The interview lasted for a relatively short time and had a positive impact on the confidence of the researcher. The pilot interview also aided in enhancing the presentation in the rest of the interviews carried out.
Each interview took approximately fifteen to thirty five minutes with a sample of each interview being recorded in a tape recorder. Though the process did not comprise the visual aspects of the situation, the words, participants' tone and their pauses were recorded properly to indicate the feelings of the participants. The recording is also important as the tone of the employees improved the reliability of the data collected so that the researcher had the ability to refer the accurate nature of the conversation.
The researcher also was capable of taking notes during any appealing conversations with the employees. The notes were significant and helpful when writing up the report of the findings and during data investigation, analysis and evaluation. Majority of the interviewees from various companies showed some confidence and interest during the interview sessions.
3.7. Analysis of Data
This study did not follow any standard procedure of data analysis in order to come up with the findings. However, after the fieldwork was finished, the researcher listened to all the interviews over and over again and transliterated a few of them. The written conversations and the written notes from the interviews were used to draw out the findings and organize them for additional analysis.
Data was collected and organized in a comprehensible manner and comments were noted on each question and the obtained data from the semi-structured interviews were organized following the themes, which were made after revisiting the existing literature and the theoretical structure and worked upon them minutely. This process made the researcher to undoubtedly categorize the employee motivations in different environments provided by their specific companies.
3.8. Reliability and Validity
Based on previous research, the quality of the outcomes of this study can be evaluated alongside two aspects including reliability and validity. Reliability is the ability of the research findings to remain the same if the study was to be carried out again at some later date or with a different set of samples. The outcome is said to be reliable if the results are in a way related to the previous research. On the other hand, validity is the degree to which data or information collected by the researcher truly reflects the subject being studied. The data or information is valid if it represent the phenomenon being studied (Veal, 1997).
This research is based upon a restricted sample of participants from a few organizations and hence does not represent a full scale of the behaviour of employees in every company. Moreover, the respondents were from diverse backgrounds with diverse personalities working in different companies at different levels. Due to the mentioned circumstances, it is impossible to eliminate the issues connected to reliability and validity.
In sequence to reduce the levels of unreliability and threats of validity, the themes and the interview questions were created with a lot of care and were presented to the superior for additional evaluation. This was then followed by a pilot test to guarantee the validity of the research topic. While carrying out the interview, the researcher and the participating employee were entirely aware of the research subject and the themes being discussed. This made it possible for the results to remain valid to the research question. The researcher also gave the participating employees a circumstance, where they were free to communicate their own thoughts, understandings and views, without any comment passed from the interviewer.
3.9. Ethical Issues
The entire research complies with the Oxford Brookes University's 'Ethical standards for research that involves human participants. The research work requires a careful understanding of the employees' commitment to the success of an organization and therefore ethics is a significant aspect. Some information acquired from the employees is personal in nature. In the entire cases participant's anonymity is mandatory; their names are not disclosed (Denzin and Lincoln, 1998).
All the participants were contacted by telephone and subsequent to their agreement to taking part in the research, an attachment comprising the aims and the objectives of the study along with its implications were sent through e-mails. The attachment sent to the prospective participants also informed them about their right to confidentiality (Easterby-Smith et al., 2002). It also informed them of their right of not answering any specific question or withdrawal from the interview anytime. Additionally, each participant was aware of the researcher's objective of writing her dissertation based on the data collected from the semi-structured interviews. According to research any research design should not subject the participants or the research contributors and facilitators to any kind of awkwardness or material difficulty. Respect for every individual together with honesty is the most important guides essential for the research ethics. These guidelines were observed during the interview sessions and the entire research activity (Veal, 1997).
3.10. Research Limitations
The thesis is not generic in nature and emphasize on the nature of employees in various organizations, therefore, this is a path for a potential limitation. Furthermore, the outcomes are limited to a specific population and hence, the reliability of the collected data is debatable due to the diminutive sample size. The major problem with this small sample is that numerical generalization is impossible.
Use of snow-ball sampling poses another drawback as a result of the deficiency of a prearranged sampling frame, this is a key limitation associated with this kind of sampling. In addition, experts suggest that qualitative finding may also be affected negatively by the ability, experience and perception of the person collecting information. In contrast others disagree and assert that it does not essentially make the research investigation any less compelling. Interview sessions with lesser samples are said to be more likely to provide an opportunity for a better understanding of the subject being studied. Nevertheless, the qualitative information got from various individuals varies at a certain point of time and therefore cannot be essentially compared in a prearranged manner to the rest of the results of the remaining respondents.
Another limitation is the different cultural setting of each interviewee. This may cause a lot of prejudice in their opinions as suggested by Saunders et al., (2003). Different period of the interviews that is evident for this kind of research is another drawback. This is because of the likely possibility that some interviews producing more in detail information than the others. Finally, for both the researcher and the participating employees, time was a major drawback. Most participants wee busy with their work and it was hard for them to dedicate a considerable amount of time for the interview.
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