HR7155 Research Methods In Human Resource Management

HR7155 Research Methods In Human Resource Management

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HR7155 Research Methods In Human Resource Management

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HR7155 Research Methods In Human Resource Management

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Course Code: HR7155
University: London Metropolitan University is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: United Kingdom


The critique needs to be more than just a summary of methods used.  It should include an evaluation of the two studies, i.e. it should reveal what you think of the work you are reviewing.  This means you have to provide justification for any opinions expressed, e.g. evidence from the studies that supports the argument you make.   
You should read both studies well ahead of writing the review. In order to prepare for writing the review, you need to reflect on the discussions concerning epistemology and research design covered in the lectures/seminars and read focusing on two sources of information:
the pair of studies you have chosen to reviewa selection of research methods texts  and articles that cover the steps that would represent good practice in doing research on a topic such as the one informing the two studies.

Employee satisfaction may be explained as the feeling of contentment and dedication that the employee of a particular organization feels about his or her job. Employee satisfaction is possible only if the employees are happy at their place of work, or if they feel that their current job fulfils their needs and desires. There are numerous factors which affect workplace satisfaction. Some of them are monetary privileges, incentives and bonuses, working hours, workplace environment, overall employee morale and so on. The following essay reviews two papers on different factors affecting employee satisfaction. The papers are “Employee satisfaction and use of flexible working arrangements” by Daniel Wheatley and “Exploring the work–life challenges and dilemmas faced by managers and professionals who live alone” by Krystal Wilkinson, Jennifer Tomlinson and Jean Gardiner.
It is interesting to note that both papers speak about working conditions and the workplace environment as far as employee satisfaction is concerned. In the first paper, Wheatley studies the impact of flexible working arrangements on employee satisfaction. The author claims that in the past few years, there has been an increase of flexible working arrangement policies in the UK and around the world. It also provides an overview of the gendered nature of flexible employment (Wheatley 2017). On the other hand, the second article offers a different perspective on work life balance. The article examines the working conditions and maintenance of work life balance of managers and professionals who live alone. The authors in this case delve deep into what exactly composes the personal life aspect of professionals. The work life balance of professionals who live alone and have no immediate liabilities and family care responsibilities have been underrepresented in existing literature. The article recognizes the single person household as one of the fastest growing trends in the UK (Wilkinson, Tomlinson and Gardiner 2017).
The purpose of the quantitative study by Wheatley is to study the impact of flexible working arrangements on the employee satisfaction levels. According to the paper, flexible working arrangements would increase the control that an employee has over his or her work. However, as the author argues, the concepts of flexible working and work life balance continue to be gendered and lead by gender differences in the workplace. The purpose of the qualitative study however is to examine the importance of work life balance for a grossly underrepresented section of the working population – the professionals who live alone, irrespective of gender. The article comments that there is a greater tendency amongst companies to hire men and women who live alone. The article thus highlights the importance of work life balance for this category of the working population and the work life conflicts that such a category experiences.
The articles may be compared based on the epistemological position of each study. For instance, the study by Wheatley is a quantitative one, the second paper is a qualitative one. Yet, the research philosophy or epistemological position in both cases remains similar. Both papers assume a positivist approach with regards to their research philosophy. Positivism is a term used in research methodology literature, which describes an approach that entirely relies on scientific evidence, such as the usage of statistics and experiments so as to affirm a hypothesis or arrive at a conclusion. In other words, positivism refers to factual knowledge, or knowledge that is acquired through observation and measurement. The main reason why positivist approach has been used in the two articles is because it is trustworthy (Taylor and Medina 2013). The role of the researcher, in this aspect, is limited to the collection and the interpretation of data that has been acquired (Aliyu et al. 2014).
Based on a careful analysis of the first article, it can be said that it is inductive in nature and relies on data resulting from the survey to conduct the study. The second article by Wilkinson, Tomlinson and Gardiner (2017) made the use of a deductive approach as it has considered some assumptions to construct a set of hypothesis. These assumptions are – that there is only one definite, observable and measurable reality, that genuine knowledge, which is based on empirical evidence would be quantifiable and objective, that the main purpose of the research is to test, analyse and expand a theory, and finally that the methods of research involve experiments, exploratory, analytical modes (which can be analysed objectively and in measurable ways) would provide the most accurate results. The assumptions underlying positivism are that that empirical evidence can be the only foundation of knowledge.
According to research method literature, there are two methods of data analysis. The first article by Wheatley (2017) uses a quantitative method to collect the data. It utilises panel data from the British Household Panel Survey (waves 11-19) and Understanding Society (wave 2) from 2001-2010/11 (Wheatley 2017). This is a good way to access to reliable data. However, adopting a mixed approach that is the combination of both qualitative and quantitative could have been rather a better approach. It is because it brings reliability to the data as both qualitative and quantitative data can be compared and contrast to see whether there is any deviation between those two forms of data. Hence, the end result will be more reliable as compared to the findings of only a quantitative approach.  
The second article by Wilkinson, Tomlinson and Gardiner (2017) follows a qualitative methodology. This can also be considered a good approach to collect the data like the one being used by Wheatley (2017). In this approach, Wilkinson, Tomlinson and Gardiner (2017) did conduct interviews with professionals and managers aged 25 to 44. The selection in this way was purposefully made by the researchers. Qualitative approach as such the one being used in this article is better than a quantitative approach as being used by Wheatley (2017). It is because a qualitative approach can provide an in-depth information of the research topic. This is never possible with a quantitative approach as data does not indicate the actual behavior. It rather shows the figures. On the other hand, the qualitative approach being used by Wilkinson, Tomlinson and Gardiner (2017) is a good way to understand why there are such figures as depicted by a quantitative approach, what have caused this to happen, and how those can be controlled (Brannen 2017).  
The research is all encompassing, since it is not restricted to a specific occupation or gender. The main reason why managers have been chosen for the interview is because solo living is more common in the higher socio economic groups. Social media was used as a platform for communicating with potential participants. This ensured that a diversity was maintained within the group. A majority of the participants in the study were single, while some were in long distance relationships and living alone. The research design in the case of the first paper is quantitative in nature. This paper uses the panel data available from the British Household Panel Survey of 2001 -2010/2011. The survey consists of mostly adult members of the population, above the ages of 16 spread out over 5000 households and 10000 individuals.
In order to analyse the availability and the use of flexible working arrangements by the employees of different organizations, the author Wheatley (2017) uses a method of logistic regression (Hammersley 2017). This is a robust method, especially given the fact that the paper is working with choice dependent variables. The variables are dependent on a number of factors, which include employee reported satisfaction with their jobs, work life balance, amount of leisurely time available to them and their impact on life. On the other hand, in the other research paper, the authors Wilkinson, Tomlinson and Gardiner (2017) used a qualitative method in order to understand how managers and professionals living alone perceive work life balance and the implications of the same. The research paper uses semi structured interviews as a tool to analyse the participants. All of the participants taking part in the study were single or at least living alone. There are two major benefits of using this research design. One, the semi structured interviews meant that the participants were allowed to express their own views and experiences in a fairly unstructured and open way and were not guided by external forces. This significantly reduces chances of bias.  
The question scales were of three types – completely satisfied, neither satisfied or unsatisfied and completely unsatisfied. These dependent variables were then regressed against the employee reported use of flexible working hours and requisite controls. Also, separate analysis was performed for both genders, so as to show the gendered measures as far as flexible working arrangements are concerned. The change in the satisfaction level of the employees was traced using two methods – change score analysis and ANCOVA. Both methods were beneficial in the sense they enabled the researchers to understand how the levels of employee satisfaction changed with the change in the availability of flexible working arrangements. For instance, the change score analysis revealed how satisfaction levels changed as people shifted in terms of status while the ANCOVA results compared the changes in satisfaction from one year to the next. Secondly, the interviews paved the way for discussions on important theories, concepts, research questions and also revealed life stories of the participants. This was done by starting with one open question which eventually led to the next and so on. Quantitative analysis in this case would not be appropriate because the purpose of the paper is to study the perspectives of the professionals living alone. Thus, limiting the paper to simply objective and quantifiable research would limit the scope and the authenticity of the paper. On the other hand, using semi structured interviews meant that greater insight could be gained into the minds of the employees. Also, semi structured interviews meant that the researchers would be leading the interviews in the manner that would be beneficial for the research to be conducted successfully.
The main reason the second article chooses interview as the chosen research design is because it offers detailed information on the perceptions and personal feelings of the employees. Also, semi structured interviews mean that one question to would lead to another question, which provides more insight and also come with high response rates. Semi structured interviews also pave the way for more structured and accurate screenings as well. On the other hand, a quantitative method as used by Wheatley (2017) only gives the numbers with no human voice attached to it. 
 To conclude, it is important to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the articles. The most important factor about the quantitative article is that it focuses on one aspect of flexible working arrangements – that of gendered assumptions. Although the research shows that more women than men prefer flexible working arrangements, it can be argued that this is a biased statement. The second paper gains an upper hand in this case, for it studies the implications of work life balance for both sexes. However, the article has one limitation. Most of the participants taking part in the study were British or at least white, which fails to account for the ethnic diversity. Another major difference between the papers is that the paper on flexible working arrangements is inductive in nature. It studies data available from various sources and attempts to put forth a new idea, that flexible working arrangements are more applicable for women than men. An inductive research is good in predicting what could happen in future or establishing the possibility for what could be encountered at the concerned place. However, inductive approach may get involve into wrong observations leading even to incorrect conclusions. On the other hand, the first paper is deductive in nature and through qualitative analysis suggests that professionals living alone require work life balance just like professionals who have a domestic life. Deductive approach can be helpful in defining many rules. Deductive approach can be time-saving. It also allows more time for practice and application. However, a deductive approach does not encourage a divergent thinking. It may also restrict the scope of creativity.  
Aliyu, A.A., Bello, M.U., Kasim, R. and Martin, D., 2014. Positivist and non-positivist paradigm in social science research: Conflicting paradigms or perfect partners. J. Mgmt. & Sustainability, 4, p.79.
Brannen, J., 2017. Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches: an overview. In Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research (pp. 3-37). Routledge.
Hammersley, M., 2017. Deconstructing the qualitative-quantitative divide 1. In Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research (pp. 39-55). Routledge.
Taylor, P.C. and Medina, M.N.D., 2013. Educational research paradigms: From positivism to multiparadigmatic. The Journal of Meaning-Centered Education, 1(2), pp.1-13.
Wheatley, D., 2017. Employee satisfaction and use of flexible working arrangements. Work, employment and society, 31(4), pp.567-585.
Wilkinson, K., Tomlinson, J. and Gardiner, J., 2017. Exploring the work–life challenges and dilemmas faced by managers and professionals who live alone. Work, employment and society, 31(4), pp.640-656.

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