In this chapter research methods and approaches are discussed. According to the purpose of the thesis, models, tools and trends and its application are discussed, applied and evaluated in the analysis section. In order to receive the answers for the settled questions, different re-search methods are implemented. Undoubtedly, the secondary data is considered to be the cornerstone of the thesis. The research methods discussed below are employed in the process of dealing with the data procession to perform the analysis. The thesis goes through the fol-lowing steps: choice of research area, formulation of research questions, choice of method, formulation of research design and data collection techniques, implementation of data collec-tion, analysis of data, interpretation of data, and finally conclusions.
Due to the fact that discussion and description of global supply network including activities, security, trends, tools, models, and participants exist, the type of research is defined as de-scriptive. A descriptive research provides an explanation of how the selected clerical staff is rewarded and what measures are used in order to record the productivity levels of the compa-nies that were selected for the research
The Research Data Collection
There are a variety of ways that the data can be collected. Any research paper can combine several research methods. The thesis involves several types of data collection. Due to the fact that the thesis is based on descriptive, partially explanatory, and qualitative research methods, different meanings and experiences related to the phenomenon are emphasized.
Information concerning traditional practices of supply chain management, supply chain up-dates, supply chain security within the network, corporate restructuring, integration, business supply chain events examples, supply chain coordination, and customer need satisfaction are collected and analyzed. In order to obtain the necessary data, there is a great need of library catalogues use, encyclopedias, and databases, and search engines in the Internet.
Additionally, data collected for the paper mostly concerns different practices and cases of the companies‟ experience and their successes or failures. In order to narrow down the topic one main industry was chosen: automobiles. The cases of the Japanese suppliers in the car indus-try are considered. Scientific literature is the main source of the models that are applied to studied cases. Many cases and notes were derived from newspapers, relevant articles and journals, such as Harvard Business Review, RosBusinessConsulting Daily, Financial Times, Forbes, etc. During the work with articles and magazines, there has been a problem of infor-mation disclosure, limits, and difference of facts from sources, so the authors has had to com-pile the facts that are mentioned in all the sources and, practically, the concrete information shown at the companies’ web-sites
Qualitative and Quantitative methods
A qualitative approach is defined to be more subjective method in nature and involves exam-ining and reflecting on perceptions in order to gain an understanding of social and human ac-tivities. The method is concerned more with the generation rather than the testing of theories.
Qualitative research strategy “predominantly emphasizes an inductive approach to the rela-tionship between theory and research, in which the emphasis is placed on the generation of theories” (Business Research Methods, Bryman A., Bell A., 2011). Additionally, qualitative approach rejected the practices and norms of the natural scientific model and positivism and emphasized more the interpretation of social world. The method represents a view of social reality as a constantly shifting emergent property of individuals‟ creation.
According to the purpose of the thesis, qualitative research method is used to a great extent. The stress is done on the understanding the operation of the global supply chain with the main shift to security, through interpretation of that supply chain by its tools, trends, tech-niques, processes, and participants. The performance of the companies is the outcomes of the interactions and activities between individuals within the global supply networks. Referring to Bryman and Bell, 2011, a qualitative research method has been evolved over time into a series of distinct phases or “moments”, that it is noticeable in the analysis part. The perfor-mance of Toyota and Honda cases is analyzed in a time perspective as well. There is a dis-cussion of different periods that the companies were experiencing with the further conclu-sion.
Regarding to the rules of the qualitative research method, the research goes through several steps. Firstly, the general research questions/plan of discussion has been composed. For in-stance, well defined activities of Toyota and Honda Companies are considered in the process of model, trends, and tools implementation. Secondly, the relevant sites and subjects are cho-sen. In the case of Supply Chain Security, Toyota and Honda study cases are accepted. The next step is the collection of data. The data has been gathered from different sources such as internet, school library, scientific articles, and a variety of text books. The fourth step is the interpretation of data that was mainly presented in the analysis section of the paper. Finally, the last and important step is to write up findings and conclusion.
In contrast with the qualitative research method “A quantitative approach which is objective in nature and concentrates on measuring phenomena” (Collins & Hussey, 2003). A quantita-tive research method includes collection and analysis of data, and application of statistical da-ta. Quantitative approach is a strategy that highlights quantification of data collection and analysis. The approach involves a deductive method because there is a link between theory and research, in which the analysis of the theories is the most significant. In addition, quanti-tative research method contains the practices and norms of the natural theoretical model. Fi-nally, the method exemplifies a view of social reality in the sense of external and objective reality. According to the purpose of the thesis, it is admitted that a qualitative research meth-od is unnecessary and inconvenient to be used for the purpose writing.
Despite all differences of qualitative and quantitative research methods, there are also several similarities. For instance, both methods are concentrated on data reduction and answering the research questions. Furthermore, both methods emphasize the relation of data to the research literature and variation. In addition, qualitative and quantitative research methods seek to en-sure that deliberate distortion does not occur and highlight the importance of transparency. However, these two research methods are used completely different
Deductive and Inductive methods
“Deductive research is a study in which a conceptual and theoretical structure is developed and then tested by empirical observation; thus particular instances are deduced from general inferences”(Collins & Hussey, 2003). For this reason, the deductive research method is relat-ed to as switch from the general to the particular.
“Inductive research method is a study in which theory is developed from the observation of empirical reality; thus general inferences are induced from particular instances, which is re-verse of the deductive research method” (Collins & Hussey, 2003). Due to the fact that it in-cludes shift from an individual observation to statements of general patterns, it is related to shift from specific to general. The research findings should be associated with a certain do-main of enquiry.
The research of the thesis is primarily inductive. The inductive research method of the paper starts from a rough definition of a research question/discussion, and further proceeds to a hy-pothetical explanation of the question. Later on, there has been continuous data collection and examination of Toyota and Honda Companies cases. If the case is considered to be incon-sistent with the models and patterns encountered, it is directly eliminated in order to re-define the negative impact. “Inductive method is an extremely rigorous method, because encounter-ing a single case that is inconsistent with a hypothesis is sufficient to necessitate further data collection, and the selection of the cases must be sufficiently diverse as to have adequately challenged the theory” (Bryman & Bell, 2011)
Primary and Secondary Data
The thesis is based upon strong secondary data that was approved by famous and well-known publication sources such as Harvard Business Review. Retrieving data from qualified scien-tific articles channels this paper to strengthen its collected data. Since these articles are based on quantitative and statistical information that excavated from the annual financial state-ments, using these articles enhance the value of the thesis.
The main type of the secondary data is the case studies of Toyota and Honda Companies that are obtained in Harvard Business Review literature source. The scientific articles and study cases have a great value because it was made on the basis of many prime researches and analysis by many scientists for a long time. The study cases mainly express the experience of Toyota and Honda Companies, including a detailed description of all elevations and depres-sions. The experience of two companies also includes an implementation of different ap-proaches, strategies, and models which are discussed in the empirical findings section. In a row with implementation processes, different impacts and outcomes are observed by scien-tists. Describing ups and downs of the company performance, the analysis of reasons and fac-tors that have an impact on the companies‟ operation is also revealed. In addition, the primary research provided in the case studies gives an opportunity to identify companies‟ major activ-ities, patters, and strategies on the way to success.
The analysis and interpretation of the research data forms the major part of the research pro-ject
Reliability, Validity, and Generalizability
Reliability is concerned with the question of whether the results of the study are repeatable. The main question is whether or not the measures that are devised for concept in business and management are consistent. According to the fact that the research of the paper is considered to be reputable, consequently it is reliable. The similar observations and interpretations can be made on different occasions and by different researches.
The data collected has different extent of validity, and during the thesis writing, the infor-mation with low cogency was eliminated. Validity of the data is concerned with the integrity of the conclusions that are generated from a piece of previous researches. Validity of the data defines the degree to which findings can be generalized across social settings. In general, the observations and research findings can be presented by the divergence. However, validity has not very high level in the thesis because there has not been gained a full access to all the data and some of information has disclosures.
Generalization is concerned with the application of research results to cases or situations be-yond those examined in the study. Generalization is the extent to which the conclusion about one subject based on different information can be made. According to the paper, the analysis section has captured the interactions and characteristics of the supply chain security concept based on the examples of Toyota and Honda Companies.
First data collected from articles and journals has been stated in a form of report segmented by years, so that it was convenient to use and classify fresh tools. According to the fact that there are just two authors of the paper, in order to save time, they have collective responsibili-ties for the primary search. When the data is collected, the need of scientific sources about Supply Chain Management systems appears. Unfortunately, it is not possible to find concrete numerical report of different companies in particular time periods, so it is necessary to ex-clude quantitative method from the studies as well as deductive. Obviously, qualitative and inductive research methods are most applicable and appropriate for the situation. The Busi-ness to Business Marketing course literature, especially networks and main models are taken and processed. All of them are discussed in the Empirical Findings and Analysis sections. There are two problems researchers have faced during the work on the thesis. The first one is the inflow of information found that has been incredibly overwhelming, so there has been a need to narrow down the topic and be very specific with the time period, industries and trust-ed sources. The other problem is the consequence of the first one. Additionally, it is decided to put Research Methods chapter before the Empirical Findings section as that structure helps to keep the reader up towards the purpose and allows to make the link between the chapters smoother
1.1 Problem discussion
2 Research Methods
2.1 The Research Data Collection
2.2 Qualitative and Quantitative methods
2.3 Deductive and Inductive methods
2.4 Primary and Secondary Data
2.5 Data Analysis
2.6 Methods application
3 Empirical Findings
3.1 The Existing Models in the Study Cases
3.2 IT and the efficiency of the Supply Chain
4 Discussion of the Study cases
4.1 Toyota cases
4.2 Honda cases
6 Suggestions for further studies
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