7002 Week 4 S1 2015 Essay

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7002 EHR: Evidence-based Practice in HRM

Week 4:
Applying research findings
Dr.Alan Burton-Jones
a.burton-jones@griffith.edu.au
1

AGENDA
• The case study method
• Comparative case study - example
• Small group exercises:
– Assess a HRM problem in a hypothetical organization – Establish a plan
– Conduct research
– Evaluate findings
– Prepare report and recommendations
2

THE CASE STUDY METHOD
“The essence of case study, the central tendency among all types of case study is that it tries to illuminate a decision or set of decisions: why they were taken, how they were implemented and with what results”. ( Schramm, 1971, quoted in Yin, 2003)

Case study research :
• An empirical enquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon, a real life context – where the context of the case ‘matters’
• Uses multiple sources of evidence
• Uses both qualitative and quantitative types of evidence
• Tends to use prior theories and proven research instruments to guide data collection and analysis
• Most useful when you need to explain causal effects in real world situations
i.e. why and how things happened the way they did
• Can be used to investigate and present findings and conclusions from individual cases only or develop broader generalizations, dependent on the strength and representativeness of the case study evidence
Yin, R.K. (2003.) Case Study Research Design and Methods, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications

3

SIX SOURCES OF EVIDENCE COMMONLY
USED IN CASE STUDIES
• Documentation e.g. letters, emails, formal and informal written reports, etc.
• Archival records e.g. organizational records; personal records; lists, survey data
• Interviews: structured, unstructured and semi-structured interviews • Direct observation e.g. by the researcher in the workplace; of people, activities and the environment
• Participant observation e.g. researcher serving as a staff member to gain a perspective ‘from the inside’
• Physical or cultural artifacts e.g. tools, works of art
Yin, R.K. (2003.) Case Study Research Design and Methods, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
Working in groups discuss the article by Salk, J. (1997), ‘Partners and
Other Strangers: Cultural Boundaries and Cross-Cultural Encounters in
International Joint Venture Teams’, International Studies of Management and Organization, 26/4 Winter 96-7: 48-72
• What research design was used in this study?
• Did the study aim to show causal effects and if so how did it use evidence to do this?
• What were the main sources and types of evidence that the researcher seemed to rely on for her findings?
• What were the main findings and conclusions from the study?
• Did it restrict its focus to the three organizations studied or attempt to offer broader generalizations from its findings that might be of value to other organizations?
• Overall what did you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the study in terms of research methods and its use of evidence

Comparative Case Study

IDENTIFYING A PROBLEM AND APPLYING
RESEARCH TO SOLVE IT
The problem
• How to improve organizational effectiveness through better human sourcing and management practices
“From the point of view of strategic human resource management (HRM), researchers need to investigate how various combinations of employment modes (i.e., internalisation and externalisation) lead to competitive advantage.” (Lepak and
Snell, 1999, p.32)

Comparative Case Study

RESEARCH QUESTION
“Can knowledge-based theory of the firm be used to explain the relationship between organizations’ mix of internal and external human resources and organizational effectiveness?” Comparative Case Study

RESEARCH DESIGN
• Two 4.5 star inner city hotels chosen to be maximally similar to aid comparison
• Post positivist ( rather than interpretative) assumptions i.e. assumed model’s variables could be identified and compared e.g. across the hotels
• Used validated measures where available (50% of instruments used for data collection )
• Used…