Research Methods and Organisational Behaviour

There are a number of way in which factors can affect the performance of a business. These include external factors such as market share and the economic climate of the markets environment. As well as internal factors including management styles. One of the main components which affect performance is organisational behaviour. To first understand what organisational behaviour is, there is need for a definition which summarises what organisational behaviour is and then move on to the reason and value of studying such a subject.

‘It is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on an organisation for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organisations effectiveness. ’ (Kumar n. 2008) Looking at the different definition of organisational behaviour I gathered that organisational behaviour emphasises the study of human behaviour, behaviour in organisations and that understanding of human behaviour is important in improving organisational effectiveness. There are numerous ways in which behaviour has been perceived within an organisational environment.

Gathering theories and principals from aspects such as psychological, sociological and cultural subjects to learn about individual opinions, values, capacity to learn and actions, applying this into group based and individual based activities within an organisation. This study can lead to the organisation gaining knowledge on how a difference in strategy can change the performance of the individuals within the work place. This can make an organisation highly productive and ultimately lead to the gain in profits. The characteristics that organisational behaviour holds that it used to strive for a development within organisations.

Looking at the different ways in which a company can research the organisational behaviour within the work place, one of the most common research methods used is observation. The oxford dictionary defines observation ‘the action or process of closely observing or monitoring something or someone. ’ Within organisational research the use of observation is used to identify the factors within the workplace affect the performance of individuals. This could be used to predict what changes can benefit the workforce. Observation can be both non-participative and participative.

Non-particivative observation is when ‘the researcher is physically present, but only as a spectator who does not become directly involved in the activities of those being studied. ’ (Buchanan D. and Huczynski A. 1997). This indicates that the researcher is present just watching and listening the person in the environment of work. This leaves the object being observed not being disturbed or interfered by the person carrying out the research at any point while the observation is taking place. Participative involves the researcher getting involved within the process. The researcher is both researching and participating.

This is so that the researcher can get a better understanding. The greatest argument in favour of observation as a valuable research method is that the researchers carry out their research to observe behaviour in the setting or conditions that would naturally occur. Compared to a laboratory experiment where conditions may be neither permanent nor repeatable thus not reflecting real life situations (Bennett 1996). One of the main concerns over observation is that it is very time consuming as to get the desired results you may need to observe for years. This in turn is costly as you need to pay/hire staff to carry out the research.

Another way that observation can prove not to be effective is that the researcher may be slightly biased especially if the researcher is participative. Another common form of research method used is survey or sampling. It is a form of research to gather relevant data. This can include questionnaire which consists of close ended answer, which the participant can give a yes or no answer. ‘the selection of a fraction of the total number of unites of interest to decision makers for the ultimate purpose of being able to draw general conclusions about the entire body of units. ’ (Parasuraman et al 2004, p.356).

Having research in this type of form is relatively quick to organise as a large amount of people can answer the question within a short space of time. Also compared to other methods it is inexpensive to carry out. Using questionnaires as Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. state in their book The sage handbook of qualitative research (2005) ‘qualitative researchers can isolate target populations, show the immediate effects of certain program on such groups, and isolate the constraints that operate against policy changes in such settings. ’ The diagram below shows the five step procedure for drawing a sample.