Methodology can generally be described as “the analysis of, and rationale for, the particular method or methods used in a given study, and in that type of study in general” (Jankowicz, 2005). This chapter is initially concerned with identifying the best research philosophy to be adopted, as this contains important assumptions about the way in which the world is viewed by the researcher, and it is these assumptions that underpin the chosen research strategy and its associated methods (Saunders et al 2009). This chapter therefore starts with an explanation of the philosophical approach chosen by the researcher; then the chapter details the research strategy, and this section also explains the limitations of using such methods. Further this section will explains the research design, method & data collections, sampling methods and limitations.
3.2 Research Philosophy, axiology and approach
3.2.1 Research Philosophy
The Data collection techniques most often used approach basis for this research project is a mix of critical realism and interpretivism. As Johnson and Clark (2006) note, as business and management researchers we need to be aware if the philosophical commitments we make through our choice of research strategy since this has significant impact not only on what we do but we understand what it is we are investigating.
The Research ‘Onion’
Source: Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill 2008
In selecting the research philosophy and the methodology it is appropriate to access the researcher’s relationship with the research topic (Fisher, 2004) and attitude towards knowledge and reality. Saunders et al (2009) suggests experiment or survey as appropriate research strategies for research testing hypotheses founded on existing theory. In the above figure the realism and Interpretivism with epistemological approach will suits the research topic. To interpret different account holders in concepts the interpretive approach will helps here and the realism will helps to find the connection between the different variables.
3.2.2 Research Axiology
According to (Saunders et al, 2009) research axiology is a branch of philosophy that studies judgements about values. The role that owns values play in all stages of the research process is of great importance if the research results want to be credible (Heron 1996). Research is based on world views, cultural experience and upbringing in realism (Saunders et al, 2009). This is important and relevant to the research topic as it is undertaking in the organization which I worked before doing masters program. This topic has been personally motivated me to go through research question and have firsthand experience in knowing the difficulties facing by human resource in controlling attrition rate in BPO companies.
3.2.3 Research Approach
The research approach is aim at the high level management and middle level management employees of BPO companies and it can be done with both deductive and Inductive approach for analyzing the research data. Creswell (2002) suggests a number of particular criteria and perhaps the most important of the research approach are the emphasis of the research and nature of the research topic.
According to Robson (2002) lists five sequential stages in deductive approach to progress positive results in quantitative analysis –
Deducting a hypothesis (a testable proposition about the relationship between two or more concepts or variables) from the theory; (Saunder 2009)
Expressing the hypothesis in operational terms (that is, indicating exactly how the concepts or variables are to be measured), which propose a relationship between two specific concepts or variables; (Saunder 2009)
Testing this operational hypothesis (this will involve one or more of the strategies) (Saunder 2009)
Examining the specific outcome of the inquiry (it will either tend to confirm the theory or indicate the need for its modification); (Saunder 2009)
If necessary. Modifying the theory in the light of the feelings. (Saunder 2009)
Deductive approach will suits the research topic in conducting the survey questionnaire (Gill and Johnson 2002) to use structured methodology to facilitate replication and this approach is quicker to complete the data collection and it can predict the time schedules accurately and can be done in ‘one take’.
Inductive approach will help this research to conduct semi-structured interviews with exit managers and supervisors in BPO companies through Skype online video conversation and understand the situation very quickly and instantly. Traditional research can be done with various methods of collecting the data in order to establish different views of phenomena (Easterby-Smith et al. 2008). Easterby-Smith et al. (2008) argues that knowledge of the different research traditions enables to adapt research design and these may be practical, involving, say, limited access to data, or due to lack of subject knowledge.
Research topic will be very practical in conducting survey questionnaire with BPO employees and semi-conducted interviews with managers as Hakim (2000) uses an architectural metaphor to illustrate the choice of approach. She introduce the notion of the researcher’s preferred style,
which rather like the architect’s, may reflect ‘â€¦.the architect’s own preferences and ideasâ€¦ and the stylistic preferences of those who pay for the work and have to live with the final result’.
3.3 Research Strategy
The strategy used for this dissertation is a Survey study. (Saunders et al, 2009) the Survey is usually associated with the deductive approach and it is very popular strategy in research and frequently used to answer who, what, where, how much and how many questions. Surveys are popular as they allow the collection of a large amount of data from a sizeable population in a highly economical way (Saunders 2009). Often obtained by using a questionnaire administered to a sample and standardized data to compare easy with the results given by BPO employees.
According to Saunders et al, 2009 the survey strategy allows to collect quantitative data which can analyze quantitatively using descriptive and inferential statistics and using the survey strategy give more control over the research process and when the sampling is done with BPO employees and exit managers.
3.4 Research Design
India BPO industry is still just in its developing edge except in manufacturing sector, which has already become a leader in Global offshore outsourcing lied to the low cost labor and semi-skilled labor pool. According to the India outsourcing association’s report, it is believed that most of BPO projects are contracted by a small number of state- owned companies which accounts for around 70% of all revenue. Therefore, in this study, we only take those service providers with offshore experience into consideration. This research sources mainly based on a pre-structured questionnaire which derived from researcher Terdiman and Berg (2001)’s Country Selection Model to collect primary data. Besides it, a limited number of online video interviews were also carried out for better understanding the survey by questionnaire.
In order to minimize the bias of information given by responds, the secondary data came from available journals in the field as well as reports from field associations in both countries as the objective of this paper is to analyze the perception of the industry service providers rather than MNCs, BPO practices related to human resource management. The information and data obtained from the questionnaire survey was analyzed using the Country selection model from researcher Terdiman and Berg (2001). It served as basis model to analyzed information from questionnaire survey. The model was chosen because it critically covers the important reasons why human resource facing the problems in controlling attrition rate in BPO companies. Basically, it will test out the attractive factors relatively in BPO companies. The outcome of interview analyzed in line with theoretical models so bias can be minimized. Process of outsourcing model (source: Brown and Wilson, 2005) applied for interview outcome analysis to identify which part still need to improve in order to have better performance. One approach which begins deductively makes use of data categories and codes that derive from the theoretical frameworks to analyze the collected data (Saunders et al, 2009). The implications of different data give a essential insight and guide for new human resource strategies in controlling the attrition rate and retain best employees.
3.5 Reliability & Threats to reliability
Reliability refers to the extent to which our data collection techniques or analysis procedures with yield consistent findings. (Easterby-Smith et al. 2008:109). Questionnaire used in this research will aims to find the new strategies in human resource management at BPO companies and the survey data will be more reliable and very confidentially. According to Robson (2002) there is a threat in doing semi structured interviews as we may get different results with different employees and the company will not allow revealing every information regarding HR policies to external media and peoples.
3.6 Research procedures
Data collection consisted of a well-structured questionnaire considered as primary data in both BPO companies which I using for this research (Cognizant Technology Solutions Private Limited and Bank of America Continuum Solutions Private Limited) and the research will be done through online application – Survey console. The sample needs to be large enough to be statistically significant and broad enough to avoid any limitations of common experiences. This is best satisfied using automated techniques, which also address challenges presented by time zone and availability of busy professionals. As the professionals concerned “live out of suitcases” but must be effective when travelling away from base locations, it is assumed a web-based survey is appropriate.
The survey was built online using a wizard style interface to select question styles and validate responses. Survey Console simplifies building the survey with the inclusion of some common question sets, such as demographics, which can be tailored to the needs of the individual survey (e.g. question 1). Building took place during late July and early August 2010. Testing was conducted initially personally and subsequently by colleagues experienced in creating surveys. Survey Console provides a testing mechanism allowing a preview of the survey to be accessed and completed online, without storing the results. The testing includes the e-mail notification function. Colleagues were able to realistically confirm the time taken to complete the survey is within the intended 10 to 12 minute limit self-imposed during the design.
Professional license will be used in this survey for reliable report with all survey results in structured format with graphs, standard deviation and with unlimited questions. And secondary data for this study was drawn from wide resources according to Yin (2003)’s suggestion that information obtained from interviewees are often subjective, therefore, secondary data is necessary to be gained from company’s published report and others. As author fortunately have some contacts with people who working in this field. It made it possible to have chance for face to face interview with some of relevant persons. Therefore, The research data for this study will be also draw based on qualitative data that can generally be defined as “non-numerical data or data that have not been quantified” (Saunders et al, 2009).
The character of this data is mostly primary data which is defined as “material that you have gathered yourself” (Jankowicz, 2005). It is always useful to gain information face to face to add bonus to primary data that conducted based on well- structured questionnaire.
Requesting gaining access email from BPO company – Cognizant Technology Solutions Private Limited.
Request email sent to Manager – BPO operations in Cognizant Technology Solutions Private Limited.
Approval email received from BPO Company for conducting survey
Email received from Mr. Hari Krishna (Operations manager) to conduct survey through online tool with their employees.
Online survey invitation to BPO employees
Survey console can generate automatically an invitation emails to all the BPO employees by sending a link in the email to do the survey and the average time track can be done through online survey.
Qualitative enquiry is very often about depth, nuance and complexity, and understanding how these work. Therefore, the act of concussing through sampling is likely to be as strategic as it is practical (Mason.J, 2002). In order to obtain relevant information for the study, 2 companies with offshore BPO have only been carefully selected for a questionnaire survey even though it was random selected based. Besides that, semi-structured interviews will be arranged to obtain an insight HRM in BPO industry. The overall response rate for the questionnaire was 95% through survey console and 5% in semi-structured interviews.
3.7 Limitations to the research
The important limitations need to be highlighted in this research. Firstly the research will be taken in online web application – Survey console there is a chance to do twice or more times the survey by the same person and Secondly there will be Internet constraint may be some people can’t do the survey due to company lock on the private websites in the company and no internet access at their homes. The sample size apparently will be third limitation to the project with a small number of sample selected discredit the accuracy, reliability of the information obtained.
3.6 Ethinical considerations
According to (Robson 2002; Sekaran 2003) the key stage of this research is to gain the access from the organizations to conduct the survey. In this research the data which is collected by all BPO employees will be stored with very confidential and do not reveal at any cost to the external clients. And the approach for gaining access and collecting data is very professional manner through online application.
The philosophical approach to the research is given and the appropriate research methods to reflect this approach have been explained and justified. Equally the rationale for the rejection of inappropriate methods has also been explained. The research design including the procedures, strategy and reliability of the research are also described with ethical considerations when conducting the research survey. Therefore this chapter will laid the options for collecting the data and analyze the research methods in conducting survey, findings and analysis can be described in chapter 4.