Case study research
Use below as a sub heading and provide information about it from the case itself:
Analysis should include these steps:
– Presentation of the facts surrounding the case.
– Identiﬁcation of the key issues.
– Listing of alternative courses of action that could be taken.
– Evaluation of alternative courses of action.
– Recommendation of the best course of action.
– At last solve the given question according to the above steps.
– Provide the most appropriate answer to the question asked at the end of the case
– Be brief and precise.
Then answer the following questions:Case Questions:
- What is business research?
- Why is the project that Paul Thomas Anderson is doing for The Laroche Candy Company a research project?
- Which steps will Paul take now that he has clearly defined the problem that needs attention?
- Luc Laroche has decided to hire an external consultant to investigate the problem. Do you think that this is a wise decision or would it have been better to ask his son Davy or an internal consultant to do the research project?
- What can (or should) Luc do to assist Paul to yield valuable research results?
- How can basic or fundamental research help Paul to solve the specific problem of The Laroche Candy Company?
- Try to find relevant books, articles, and research reports relating to this issue. Use, among others, electronic resources of your library and/or the Internet.
- We can define business research as an organized, systematic, data-based, critical, objective, scientific inquiry or investigation into a specific problem, undertaken with the purpose of finding answers or solutions to it.
- Research is the process of finding solutions to a problem after a thorough study and analysis of the situational factors. Anderson’s study will provide the needed information to Luc Laroche (head of the Laroche Candy Company) allowing him to make informed decisions to successfully deal with his succession problem.
- Once the problem that needs attention is clearly defined, then steps can be taken to gather information, analyze the data, and determine the factors that are associated with the problem and solve it by taking the necessary corrective measures. A more detailed research process is discussed in Chapter 2 of the book
- Answers will vary. Encourage students to provide arguments, based on the following strengths and weaknesses of Internal and External researchers/consultants. Students could be asked to explain which of the following advantages and disadvantages are relevant in this case.
Advantages of Internal Consultants/Researchers
There are at least four advantages in engaging an internal team to do the research project:
- The internal team would stand a better chance of being readily accepted by the employees in the subunit of the organization where research needs to be done.
- The team would require much less time to understand the structure, the philosophy and climate, and the functioning and work systems of the organization.
- They would be available for implementing their recommendations after the research findings are accepted. This is very important because any “bugs” in the implementation of the recommendations could be removed with their help. They would also be available for evaluating the effectiveness of the changes, and considering further changes if and when necessary.
- The internal team might cost considerably less than an external team for the department enlisting help in problem solving, because they will need less time to understand the system due to their continuous involvement with various units of the organization. For problems that are of low complexity, the internal team would be ideal.
Disadvantages of Internal Consultants/Researchers
There are also certain disadvantages to engaging internal research teams for purposes of problem solving. The four most critical ones are:
- In view of their long tenure as internal consultants, the internal team may quite possibly fall into a stereotyped way of looking at the organization and its problems. This would inhibit any fresh ideas and perspectives that might be needed to correct the problem. This would definitely be a handicap for situations in which weighty issues and complex problems are to be investigated.
- There is scope for certain powerful coalitions in the organization to influence the internal team to conceal, distort, or misrepresent certain facts. In other words, certain vested interests could dominate, especially in securing a sizable portion of the available scant resources.
- There is also a possibility that even the most highly qualified internal research teams are not perceived as “experts” by the staff and management, and hence their recommendations do not get the consideration and attention they deserve.
- Certain organizational biases of the internal research team might in some instances make the ﬁndings less objective and consequently less scientific.
The disadvantages of the internal research teams turn out to be the advantages of the external teams, and the former’s advantages work out to be the disadvantages of the latter. However, the specific advantages and disadvantages of the external teams may be highlighted.
Advantages of External Consultants
The advantages of the external team are:
- The external team can draw on a wealth of experience from having worked with different types of organizations that have had the same or similar types of problems. This wide range of experience would enable them to think both divergently and convergently rather than hurry to an instant solution on the basis of the apparent facts in the situation. They would be able to ponder over several alternative ways of looking at the problem because of their extensive problem-solving experiences in various other organizational setups. Having viewed the situation from several possible angles and perspectives (divergently), they could critically assess each of these, discard the less viable options and alternatives, and focus on specific feasible solutions (think convergently).
- The external teams, especially those from established research and consulting firms, might have more knowledge of current sophisticated problem-solving models through their periodic training programs, which the teams within the organization may not have access to. Because knowledge obsolescence is a real threat in the consulting area, external research institutions ensure that their members are current on the latest innovations through periodic organized training programs. The extent to which internal team members are kept abreast of the latest problem-solving techniques may vary considerably from one organization to another.
Disadvantages of External Consultants
The major disadvantages in hiring an external research team are as follows:
- The cost of hiring an external research team is usually high and is the main deterrent, unless the problems are very critical.
- In addition to the considerable time the external team takes to understand the organization to be researched, they seldom get a warm welcome, nor are readily accepted by employees. Departments and individuals likely to be affected by the research study may perceive the study team as a threat and resist them. Therefore, soliciting employees’ help and enlisting their cooperation in the study is a little more difficult and time-consuming for the external researchers than for the internal teams.
- The external team also charges additional fees for their assistance in the implementation and evaluation phases.
- The manager must also explicitly delineate the roles for the researchers and the management. The manager has to inform the researchers what types of information could be provided to them, and more important, which of their records would not be made available to them. Making these facts explicit at the very beginning can save a lot of frustration for both parties. Managers who are very knowledgeable about research can more easily foresee what information the researchers might require, and if certain documents containing such information cannot be made available, they can inform the research team about this at the outset. It is vexing for researchers to discover at a late stage that the company will not let them have certain information. If they know the constraints right from the beginning, the researchers might be able to identify alternate ways of tackling the problems and to design the research in such a way as to provide the needed answers.
- The manager should also make sure that there is a congruence in the value systems of management and the consultants. Research knowledge will help managers to identify and explicitly state, even at the outset, the values that the organization holds dear, so that there are no surprises down the road. Clarification of the issue offers the research team the opportunity to either accept the assignment, and find alternative ways of dealing with the problem, or regret its inability to undertake the project. In either case, both the organization and the research team would be better off having discussed their value orientations, thus avoiding potential frustration on both sides.
- Exchange of information in a straightforward and forthright manner also helps to increase the rapport and trust levels between the two parties, which in turn motivates the two sides to interact effectively.
To summarize, the manager should make sure while hiring researchers or consultants that:
- The roles and expectations of both parties are made explicit.
- Relevant philosophies and value systems of the organization are clearly stated, and constraints, if any, communicated.
- A good rapport is established with the researchers, and between the researchers and the employees in the organization, enabling the full cooperation of the latter.
- Being knowledgeable about research and research methods may help Paul to:
- Identify and effectively solve minor problems in the work setting.
- Know how to discriminate good from bad research.
- Appreciate and be constantly aware of the multiple influences and multiple effects of factors impinging on a situation.
- Take calculated risks in decision making, knowing full well the probabilities associated with the different possible outcomes.
- Prevent possible vested interests from exercising their influence in a situation.
- Combine experience with scientific knowledge while making decisions.
- Answers will vary. Note that family business planning is a commonly studied research area in accounting, finance, and management. Some examples:
Anderson, R. and D. Reeb, 2003. Founding-Family Ownership and Firm Performance: Evidence from the S&P 500, Journal of Finance, pp. 1301-28.
Backman, M. 2001. Asian Eclipse: Exposing the Dark Side of Business in Asia. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons.
Brenes, E.R. 2011. Corporate governance and family business performance, Journal of Business Research, pp. 280-285.
Burkart, M., F. Panunzi, and A. Shleifer, 2003. Family Firms, Journal of Finance, pp. 2167-202.
Claessens, S., S. Djankov, J. Fan, and L. Lang, 2002. Disentangling the Incentive and Entrenchment, Effects of Large Shareholdings, Journal of Finance, pp. 2741-71.
Cronqvist, H. and M. Nilsson, 2003. Agency Costs of Controlling Minority Shareholder, Journal of
Financial and Quantitative Analysis, pp. 695-719.
Holmen, M. and H. Peter, 2004. A Law and Finance Analysis of Initial Public Offerings, Journal of
Financial Intermediation, pp. 324-58.
Khanna, T. and K. Palepu, 2000. Is Group Affiliation Profitable in Emerging Markets? An Analysis of Diversified Indian Business Groups, Journal of Finance, pp. 867-91.
La Porta, R., F. Lopez-De-Silanes, and A. Shleifer, 1999. Corporate Ownership around the World,
Journal of Finance, pp. 471-518.
Morck, R. and B. Yeung, 2004. Family Control and the Rent-Seeking Society, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, pp. 391-409
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