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Bus 642 Business Research Assignment Two - a Competitive Coup in the In-Flight Magazine

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Ashford University

Business Research Methods and Tools

BUS 642

Professor Janice Johnson

April 30, 2012

Assignment Two

A Competitive Coup in the In-Flight Magazine

A & B: What are the most prudent decisions she can make about her responsibilities to herself and others? What are the implications of those decisions even if there is no violation of law or regulation?

The most important item to consider in this scenario is that of ethics. Ethics are defined as "norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about our behavior and our relationships with others" (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 32). One of the goals of ethics in research are to make sure that no harm or consequences come from research activities (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). In this scenario, there are several harms and consequences that can occur from the usage of the found information.

To begin, there is the problem foresaw by the manager. AutoCorp's new ethical policy regarding competitor's information may be pertinent to this information. If an employee in possession of such information is required to return the data or face dismissal, the consequence is not just for the manager (firing) but also for the company (having to replace said employee). This implies a monetary issue for both parties. The manager may rationalize this found information as existing in a gray area of policy, but the question would remain to the consequences of usage.

When in question, it would be the wise decision to not risk the consequences and harms that could come to self and others. While the draft found may be only just a draft, there is no true way to tell whether or not the draft has been approved recently, or may be approved by the time it is used. Given that it is also a draft, there may be the possibility that the rival company may decide not to use it at all. That would leave the manager to abandon a legitimate plan for one based on a draft that may or may not be in violation of the new company policy-a draft that may or may not be used.

There is also the problem that this research may be unneeded or inappropriate. The decision and the subsequent plan the manager developed is based on viable research and information. The information contained within the competitor's plan may not be pertinent or usable, and is therefore unneeded. Usage of information within the new policy may be inappropriate. The "value is limited if the information cannot be applied to critical decision(s)" and in this case is not allowing the manager to be less risky (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 42). The manager needs to evaluate if the draft is being used to benefit the company-or is being used for the self-serving purpose of herself.

To summate: the most prudent decisions this manager could make would involve consideration to company ethics, need for research, appropriateness of research, and applicability of the found information. Usage of the found data would create harm and consequences to the company and the individual. As there is the potential the draft remains only a draft, reworking of the manager's existing plan also creates a strain on company resources. Either way, either effort is being put into reworking a plan based on draft information, or the manager wastes time using unethically obtained information. While no laws or policies may be violated, there is the implication that usage is violating company ethics if not personal ethics.

Terms in Review

1. Distinguish between the following:

A. Exploratory and formal studies

An exploratory study tends "toward loose structures with the objective of discovering future research tasks" (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 140). The purpose of this type of study is the development of a hypotheses, and also further research questions. The best use for this type of research is when there is an issue with understanding the problems that may be encountered during the research. Exploration allows for development of concepts with more clarity, priority establishment, operational definition development, and improved final research design (Cooper & Schindler, 2011). Time and money may be saved, and determination on the importance of the initial problem may be determined. This may result in a cancellation of further research depending on the priority placed on discovered problems (or lack thereof). While there is value placed on this type of research, for example the saving of time or money, the lack of immediate answers allows for a dismissal of this format of study.

Formal studies begin "where the exploration leaves off" (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 142). This study is begun with either a hypothesis or a research question. Particular procedures and specific data sources are involved. The overall goal is hypotheses testing, or answering of research questions. Formal studies typically contain a component of the exploration before they begin, however, they tend to be more directed with clearly formulated research objectives (either a hypotheses or a question). Formal studies contain three research objectives which include "descriptions of phenomena or characteristics associated with a subject population, estimates of the proportions of a population that have these characteristics, discovery of associations among variables" (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 149).

B. Experimental and ex post facto research designs

An experimental research design model consists of a research who "attempts to control and/or manipulate the variables in a study" (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 141). This type of research is utilized when a discovery of the effects of certain variables on other variables. This type of research can prove to be a commanding support of a causational hypothesis.

In contrast, ex post facto design has "investigators (who) have no control over the variables in the sense of being able to manipulate them" (Cooper & Schindler, 2011, p. 141). The only items reported by investigators show one of two characteristics: either what is or what has happened. Investigators using this model should not attempt a control of variables. This

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