businesses have been facing increasing amounts of pressure. This is because globalization has changed the marketplace to the point that many firms are dealing with stiffer competition. To address these issues a number of companies have begun conducting business and management research. This is the planning and collecting of data when it comes to understanding the risks facing businesses / managers. The issues that are discovered during this process are used to by executives to reduce the potential dangers to the firm. This will allow the company to remain competitive by recognizing all potential hazards and addressing them. (Coldwell 2004, pp. 2-21)

Moreover, Coldwell (2004) found that research is more than just collecting data. Instead, it is the process of using all available information to make the best decisions. Evidence of this can be seen with Coldwell saying, “Managers can use business research in all stage of the decision making process to define / identify problems, diagnose casual factors and clarify alternatives. Research is also used to evaluate current programs and courses of action, to explain what went wrong with managerial efforts in the past and to forecast future conditions. An executive determines whether business research should first be conducted based on factors such as: time constraints, the availability of data, the nature of the decision to be made and the benefits of research information in relation to its cost.” (Coldwell 2004, pp. 2-21) This is important in illustrating how business and management research will play a critical role in determining what decisions will be made by executives in the future. To fully understand the importance of this kind of research requires: establishing a project direction / problem setting, conducting a literature review, providing methodological justifications and creating a research concept map. Together, these different elements will provide the greatest insights as to the best techniques for conducting business and management research.

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Research Direction and Problem Setting

To focus the research, actuaries will be studying the different kinds of techniques that are used and the impact on improving decision making. The way that this will take place is through utilizing qualitative research. This is when actuaries will be looking at a host of materials on the subject to understand the overall trends that are occurring. Once this takes place, is the point that this approach will highlight: what tactics work the best and how they can be applied in a real world environment.

Aims and Objectives

To effectively focus the research, actuaries will concentrate on different aims and objectives during the course of the study. Below are the various areas that will be examined throughout this project. (Merriam 2009, pp. 270 — 274)

To understand the benefits of business and managerial research.

To see how this strategy will help to improve competiveness inside firms.

To understand the different research techniques.

These different aims and objectives are important, because they will help to focus the study on specific areas of business / managerial research. This will allow actuaries to understand how this is providing businesses with the ability to anticipate and react to problems. (Merriam 2009, pp. 270 — 274)

Research Direction

The direction of the research will be to corroborate the underlying trends with one another. The way that this will take place, is actuaries will use comparative analysis to understand what is happening. Anything that goes against the general trends will be disregarded as a statistical anomaly. If this kind of approach is used, it will ensure that the research findings are as accurate as possible by corroborating the different facts with each other. (Merriam 2009, pp. 270 — 274)

Problem Setting

The setting of the problem is the basic background that will be established. In this particular case, the qualitative research and comparative analysis will provide everyone with specific tools to address the various aims / objectives. This is accomplished by establishing a basic understanding of the problems, examining various techniques and contrasting them against one another. If this kind of approach can be taken, it will ensure that actuaries are able to maintain objectivity at all times during the study. This will allow the findings from research to be as accurate as possible. (Merriam 2009, pp. 270 — 274)

Literature Review

In the literature review, actuaries will be studying the different kinds of techniques that are utilized by executives and their impact. This is accomplished by looking at various books and scholarly journals on the subject. Once the research is finished, is when the findings from this study can be used as a foundation for future research projects.

There are a number of different research techniques that are utilized to objectively understand what is happening to the firm. The piece of literature that was written by Bryman (2007) is discussing the use of the observational approach. This is when executives will utilize different examination techniques in order to understand how a situation is impacting the work environment. Under this approach, there are different kinds of research that are used during the process to include: structured, participant, non-participant, unstructured and simple observation. Structured observation is when there are different guidelines created to help actuaries focus on specific areas. This improves their ability to monitor and understand what is happening from an . Participant observation is when actuaries will monitor what is happening with specific individuals of the group. This is accomplished by spending long periods of time with select teams and understanding the relationship of the members. Non-participant observation is when researchers will take more of a distant view when monitoring various teams. In these kinds of circumstances, most people are unaware that they are being monitored by them. This is because actuaries will seek to understand what is happening by remaining detached from the situation. Unstructured observation is when researchers will randomly monitor what is happening without any kind of announcement or predetermined schedule. Simple observation is when actuaries are seeking to understand the situation while not being noticed by participants. The basic idea with this approach is to keep themselves as far away from the subject, to see how they really are reacting (which is similar to non-participant observation). These elements are important, because they are showing how observational research is becoming one of the tools that are used by executives to analyze their operations and the work environment. (Bryman 2007, pp. 281 — 285)

A second form of research that has been shown to be effective is ethnographic. According to Myers (2009), this kind of research is focused on what people are saying and the actions they are engaging in. The basic idea with this approach is to absorb the thoughts and behavior patterns of the individual (to see their point-of-view). Once this takes place, is when executives can effectively relate to everyone. The biggest advantage of using this kind of research is that it will provide a detailed analysis of the situation. At the same time, it is more accurate by going into the field and observing what is happening from a real world perspective. This helps to make the analysis more accurate based on the information that is provided to researchers. This information is useful, because it is directly highlighting one of the different techniques utilized and the long-term benefits of this approach. (Myers 2009, pp. 92 — 104)

Moreover, the article that was written by Venkatraman (1986) is talking about how a two should be utilized when: conducting any kind of business or management research. The reason why is because, having different designations will provide the most balance in understanding what trends are occurring. This is when executives could be able to compare the various ideas with one another. Once this takes place, is when actuaries can understand the impact of different trends over the long-term. The information from this source is useful in highlighting another tool used in researching business and management ideas. This shows the risks facing the company and what steps must be taken to deal with them. (Venkatraman 1986)

Furthermore, Mahoney (1992) found that the resource based approach is effective in understanding business and management issues. This is when executives will look at resource utilization during the process of achieving departmental objectives. When these ideas are used properly, it will provide a number of different advantages to a firm. The most notable include: it offers a value added way of looking at the situation, it takes into account issues impacting the industry and it can help to an organization. These elements are important, in illustrating the overall challenges facing an organization. As a result, this information can be used to show how this approach will understand what techniques are most successful based on predetermined criteria. (Mahoney 1992)

Methodological Justifications

These different methods can address issues that are impacting firms. This is because the approach is seeking to be as objective as possible. Evidence of this can be seen with observations from Rubin (2011). He found that when qualitative and comparative analysis is used in conjunction with each other the research is more focused. The main reason why is, is because it is inviting everyone to understand what is happening by going beyond the boundaries of traditional research. Instead, there is an emphasis on: who, what, where, when, why and how. This will force actuaries to look beyond the scope of the problem itself. Once this takes place, is the point that they can compare these findings with one another to understand the trends. This will ensure that any kind of research is taking a deeper look at the different techniques and their long-term effects. (Rubin 2011, pp. 423 — 425)

What is expected from these findings is to locate data that will help executives to minimize their risks. This is when they will have various tools for understanding the challenges affecting their firms and how to adjust with the changes that are occurring. Over the course of time, this will make the company more competitive in adjusting to a host of challenges.

In general, the timeline for the project will involve a total of three months. During the first 30 days, is when different pieces of information will be collected and separated (to be analyzed as a part of the process). Once this takes place, is when actuaries will spend the next one month researching the data. They will then compare the findings with one another (to ensure accuracy of the results). In the final month of the project, researchers will finish their analysis and prepare the final report. This is when the project will serve as a foundation for: understanding the challenges that are affecting businesses and how they are able to adjust.

To highlight the strategy for the project, a research concept map was designed (which is below). This is providing specific insights about the project, scope of the research and timeline for the study.

Research Concept Map

Statement of Problem

Research Direction (i.e. aims and objectives)

Literature Review



Potential Benefits

Does the Project Support the Aims / Objectives

This is important, in showing how actuaries will take a detailed approach when analyzing the problem. During the course of the project, this will ensure that the findings from the research are as accurate as possible. In the future, this will allow others to mirror the results and use this information as foundation for their project. This is when they expand upon these findings to improve the kind of tools that are available to executives. Once this occurs, is when they will be more responsive in the understanding different problems and how to address them.


Bryman, a, 2007, Business Research Methods, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Carson, D, 2001, Qualitative Marketing Research, Sage, London.

Coldwell, F, 2004, Business Research, JUTA Academic, New York.

Mahoney, J, 1992, ‘The Resource-Based View’, Strategic Management Journal, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 363 — 380.

Merriam, S, 2009, Qualitative Research, Josey Bass, San Francisco

Myers, M, 2009, Qualitative Research, Sage, London.

Rubin, a, 2011, Research Methods for Social Work, Brooks & Coles, Belmont

Venkatraman, N, 1986, ‘Measurement of Business Performance’, the Academy of Management Review, vol. 11, no.

4, pp. 801 — 814.