There are many terminologies and explanations that have been presented to define research. Research is mostly termed as a systematic investigative process that seeks to increase knowledge through the discovery of new facts. Research encompasses the gathering of new information, analysis and documentation of the information to provide meaning and solutions to various issues. Carrying out research entirely depends on the researcher’s objectives, intentions, paradigm, and purpose. Research is carried out through a series of steps which include observation and description, prediction, determination, explanation, and documentation (Kumar, 2019.). Research mainly answers various queries, provides a wide pool of information and fosters a deeper and better understanding (Kothari, 2004). There are two common categories of research which include the basic research which is defined as an inquiry that aims at increasing general knowledge. Applied research, on the other hand, is an investigation that utilizes the knowledge obtained in the basic research in order to solve the problem and create new products, processes, and techniques. This paper takes a major focus on the adoption of a positivist approach in business and management research.
Business and Management Research
The business and management field entail how an organization carries out its operations to generate revenue and how the operation is controlled, planned, coordinated and organized. Research in business and management is categories as applied research which is significant in solving various business problems. The research in business and management utilizes a positivist approach that is based on scientific evidence. The research increases management knowledge that contributes to more revenue and better working environments (Goulding, 2002). Findings in the investigations carried out on business and management departments of an organization help managers to make more informed decisions that reduce uncertainty and increase productivity. Research equips an organization with the necessary knowledge on the market, information concerning competitors and data on the organization’s customer base (Kumar, 2019.). Data found enables a company to tailor its operations towards providing clients with actual solutions to their needs.
The research is relevant in that it helps a company in developing advertisements and campaigns that target a particular market. Information found enables a company to actively compete in its industry. The company identifies the relevant market gap and addresses the issues hence gaining a competitive advantage. Also, the company is provided with information on the strategies to adapt to generate more capital and remaining competitive (Seawright, and Gerring, 2008 p 294). Research in business management equips managers with information on the required skills to fill different position thus influencing the employment exercise. Research methodology and philosophy are essential in gathering information on how to control the distinctive traits of the employee base (Kothari, 2004). Also, the research ensures that both customer and employees satisfaction levels are attained in order to retain the customers and employees.
Research philosophy entails ways through which fundamental information is gathered, analyzed and utilized (Crossan, 2003 p 46). Through the philosophies, a researcher is able to identify relevant information that relates to their operations. The researcher is able to formulate gathered information that is assumptions and beliefs into meaningful facts. Research philosophies are determined by the research approach. There are two main research approaches which are the ontology and epistemology. Ontology approach mainly deals with nature and reality hence providing a scientific approach during research. Ontology approach provides a series of beliefs on a particular issue which is then interpreted by research to form facts. Ontology research bases its operations on entities such as subjectivism and objectivism (Goulding, 2002). Subjectivism focuses on social factors that influence an issue while objectivism highlights existing social factors. The other approach in research is the epistemology approach which is based on existing knowledge. Epistemology approach mainly utilizes assumptions to formulate ideas through the sources of information.
There are four main types of research philosophies which include pragmatism, positivism, interpretivism, and realism. The research philosophies are selected by the impact of practical implications (Holden, and Lynch, 2004 p 398). The realism philosophy uses the epistemology approach focusing on scientific inquiries. Realism philosophy discloses the truth on various realities and also shows the existence of objects (Mingers, 2004.). Interpretivism approach also uses the epistemology approach and the philosophy investigates the presence of the difference when human are the social factors. The positivist philosophy is utilized in natural science through observations. The pragmatism philosophy focuses on claims that an idea is true if the satisfaction levels of the researcher are met. The philosophy is based on accepting of practical ideas and rejection of unpractical ideas. The business and management field utilizes the positivism philosophy in carrying out research.
Positivism philosophy is relevant in carrying out research in business and management field because the philosophy offers scientific information obtained through scientific methods. Positivism philosophy is identified through the ontology approach under objectivism because it mainly deals in natural sciences (Easterby, Thorpe, and Jackson, 2012 p 5). The philosophy utilizes existing evidence in science to compare different claims and ascertain a particular truth. The positivist philosophy in business and management is implemented through observation and experiments. Information identified in a research process is subjected to a positive affirmation. The positive affirmation process includes subjecting information to reasoning based on gathered evidence. The philosophy follows five principles which include the logic of inquiries, the goal of inquiries, empirical observation, judgment by logic, and support by facts. The positive philosophy illustrates, predicts and discovers vital facts related to a particular issue. The facts are observable which acts as reference points and supporting evidence of a phenomenon. The evidence and observation in positivism philosophy promote accuracy of facts and minimizes instances of biases.
Positivism philosophy heavily relies on researchers’ abilities to collect data and their interpretation skills. The researchers are expected to interpret the information they have collected through an objection to formulate reasonable facts. The facts should be support by strong evidence to affirm a particular phenomenon (Crossan, 2003). In the business and management field positivism, philosophy is value free. The value-free trait entails that the researcher is an independent party and the research does not have a provision for human interest. Positivism philosophy adopts a deductive approach in research. In the business and management field identified information is tested and then is confirmed or falsified depending on the facts created. In some cases, the data is generalized to help in the prediction of claims. The objectivism of the positivist philosophy is relevant because it provides a logical foundation used in empirical research and also minimizes human rationality in the business and management field.
Business activities and other operations of an organization are controlled by managers. The managers make decisions on activities to be undertaken through deductive reasoning. The deductive reasoning is utilized in positivism philosophy where the reasoning starts with general facts and narrows down to specific and precise facts. Deductive reasoning is important in a business manager because there are many departments and entities involved. Positivism research incorporates deductive reasoning to formulate a theory which is surrounded by various hypotheses (Pathirage, Amaratunga, and Haigh, 2007). The hypotheses are then tested through a strategy which eliminates the hypotheses and narrows down to the actual fact. The reasoning enables managers to find solutions to specific issues in a specific department. The reasoning limits generalization of matters and ideas that in many cases does not solve the actual issues.
The business and management field utilizes a case study strategy in carrying out research (Verschuren, 2003). The case study strategy is through observation and analysis of facts that are then confirmed to answer to the needs of the research. For example, an organization may be experiencing low customer base and carries out research to identify the causes. From information gathered the managers identify that the quality of products offered is low compared to the previous year. The manager reason using the number of sales and revenue concluding that the decrease is due to the production of low-quality products. It is the managers, duties to gather information on improving the quality of the product to increase sales and revenue. The case study approach is relevant because it offers more understanding and the facts are based on actual evidence (Verschuren, P., 2003.). The positivist philosophy in business and management is carried out through different types of research methods. The philosophy uses data collection methods that are highly structured such as application to tracks sales and calculate revenue. The research method in positivism philosophy is applicable in the business and management field because it is large and incorporates different elements (Marczyk, DeMatteo, and Festinger, 2005). In the business management filed the philosophy is used to carry out measurements of different elements such as cost, time, sales, performance, and productivity.
However, the positivist philosophy is affected by limitation such as the dependency on experience. The experience is used to identify facts, elements and significant concepts such as actual causes, time together with environments as they all vary according to an issue (Wong, Musa, and Wong, 2011). The information provided by the philosophy is value-free which entails that human behavior is excluded. Other researchers have identified the confirmation and observation of facts are affected by emotional responses which contribute to biases and inaccuracy. The belief in scientific factors in positivism philosophy reduces the flexibility of solutions and facts found. The philosophy limits lateral thinking as solutions founds are backed up by evidence and experience. Elements such as creativity and alternative ways are hindered in presenting solutions.
Advantages of positivist approach in research
The positivist approach major advantage is that it focuses on highlighting scientific assumptions that answer various queries. The approach influences collection of a large volume of data. The positivist approach is well structured in that it follows a process in providing information. The research process is relevant in providing accurate and precise information. The approach minimizes errors in data provided, reduces variance and minimizes changes. Information offered through the positivist approach can be reproduced or tested by others. The reproduction aims at certifying information given thus increasing accuracy. The information can be gathered easily and compared using various elements.
Disadvantages of positivist approach in research
The positivist approach focuses on the quantity of the data but not its quality. The data provided by the positivist approach is produced in a numerical form hence has no further explanation. The method used in obtaining the data such as questionnaires offer short answers that are not effective limiting participants. The information from the philosophy does not focus on a particular individual. The data is collected from many sources then it is analyzed, summarized and evaluated collectively. Positivist approach in research lacks validity. The collective processing of the data often results into distortion hence the information lacks meaning. Another disadvantage of the research carried out through positivist is that the data is ineffective leading to prevalence of many issues.
Positivist Approach in Business management
Business and management field is a broad department and a vital element that is utilized across many different markets and industries. The active role of business and management in all industries contributes to the wide range of operations affected by the field. The operations are facility by the presence of a wide poll of necessary information and knowledge. The information is provided through carrying out different types of research which are based on the positivism philosophy to identify and highlight facts in that particular sector or industry (Kumar, 2019.). The business and management field utilizes a research methodology identified as descriptive. Through descriptive research, surveys are carried out together with fact-finding inquiries to obtain precise and actual information. The research is important because the researcher has no control of the involved variables hence there are no biases. Descriptive research also offers a company with causes of varies issues affecting the company. A company is able to identify why there is a decrease in the sales or causes of high turnover rates. The development department of an organization utilizes analytical research by using already available information (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill, 2007). Analytical research compares and refers to available information in order to obtain trends. Also, the research is used in highlighting the overall company and employee performance.
Business and management field implement the multi-method system through the positivist philosophy. Research in the business management field is both quantitative and qualitative (Antwi, and Hamza, 2015 p 217). The various department of an organization deal with different activities. The finance department uses quantitative research to measure the amount and quantity. The amount consists of revenue generated, loose and profits made over a particular period. The sales department implements quantitative research to identify the number of products produced or sold. The most appropriate research method for business and management filed is the qualitative research method (Johnson, and Onwuegbuzie, 2004 p 14). The qualitative method enables researchers to recognize and access peoples’ perceptions, ideas, and attitudes towards matters related to business and management. The qualitative research is used in the business and management field to improve and access the quality of services and products offered.
Qualitative research enables an organization to find out information on human behavior. The information includes customers’ needs hence a company is able to provide quality products and services that answer the needs (Morehouse, and Maykut, 2002). Also, the research provides data on employees’ behaviors which are used in tailoring motivative measures, offer promotions and pay rise. The qualitative research mainly focuses on identifying and understanding the perspectives, thoughts, and experiences of humans who interact in the business and management filed. The qualitative research offers a company with various meanings, purpose, and realities of activities surrounding a company’s operations (Ponterotto, 2005 p 126). The research aims at increasing objectivity, generalization and replicability of findings. In business management, qualitative research is implemented by carrying out surveys, tests, and questionnaires to gather information. Also, probability tests are used by the positivism philosophy to narrow down hypotheses (Myers, 2013). The business and management field is very broad and attracts a lot of data hence requires a positivism philosophy in identifying vital information.
The positivist approach in business and management is relevant in various aspect as it offers large volume of information. The data is subjected to a process that enhances its accuracy. The positivist approach saves on time and cost because the data is easily gathered and also can be compared effectively. Also, in business and management, the approach does not provide enough information. Most of the information offered through positivist approach is distorted as it is subjected to a process. The information is inflexible and cannot be changed as there is no room for variance.
Antwi, S.K. and Hamza, K., 2015. Qualitative and quantitative research paradigms in business research: A philosophical reflection. European Journal of Business and Management, 7(3), pp.217-225.
Crossan, F., 2003. Research philosophy: towards an understanding. Nurse Researcher (through 2013), 11(1), p.46.
Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. and Jackson, P.R., 2012. Management research. Sage.
Goulding, C., 2002. Grounded theory: A practical guide for management, business, and market researchers. Sage.
Goulding, C., 2002. Grounded theory: A practical guide for management, business, and market researchers. Sage.
Holden, M.T. and Lynch, P., 2004. Choosing the appropriate methodology: Understanding research philosophy. The marketing review, 4(4), pp.397-409.
Johnson, R.B. and Onwuegbuzie, A.J., 2004. Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come. Educational Researcher, 33(7), pp.14-26.
Kothari, C.R., 2004. Research Methodology: Methods and techniques. New Age International.
Kumar, R., 2019. Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. Sage Publications Limited.
Marczyk, G., DeMatteo, D. and Festinger, D., 2005. Essentials of research design and methodology. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Morehouse, R.E. and Maykut, P., 2002. Beginning qualitative research: A philosophical and practical guide. Routledge.
Myers, M.D., 2013. Qualitative research in business and management. Sage.al of Business Management, 5(29), pp.11546-11550.
Pathirage, C.P., Amaratunga, R.D.G., and Haigh, R.P., 2007. The role of philosophical context in the development of theory: Towards methodological pluralism. The Built and Human Environment Review,
Ponterotto, J.G., 2005. Qualitative research in counseling psychology: A primer on research paradigms and philosophy of science. Journal of counseling psychology, 52(2), p.126.
Real-izing information systems: critical realism as an underpinning philosophy for information systems. Information and organization, 14(2), pp.87-103.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P., and Thornhill, A., 2007. Research methods. Business Students 4th edition Pearson Education Limited, England.1(1).
Seawright, J. and Gerring, J., 2008. Case selection techniques in case study research: A menu of qualitative and quantitative options. Political research quarterly, 61(2), pp.294-308.
Verschuren, P., 2003. Case study as a research strategy: some ambiguities and opportunities. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 6(2), pp.121-139.
Wong, K.M., Musa, G. and Wong, E.S.K., 2011. A review of philosophical assumptions in management research. African Journal