Justify your answers using relevant literature.

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Sep 18, 2022


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Mick is a project manager at Zarlink, a multi-national manufacturer of semi-conductors for a variety of high technology military, medical and consumer applications. Mick is also a part-time DBA student at his local university. Since Mick had recently been selected to embed a new quality management system called TS 16949 into his manufacturing site at Swindon in the West of England it seemed sensible that he chose to study quality for his DBA thesis.
Mick’s particular fascination was his firm belief that the route to high quality process in organisations was not through introducing specific techniques but through ensuring that quality was embedded in everything done at Zarlink: part of the lifeblood of the organisation. ‘Quality is even about more than people’s attitudes,’ said Mick ‘it’s about their beliefs. Quality must be a way of life and dominate the thoughts of everyone in the organisation, irrespective of their job’. Mick wanted to use his dissertation as a way of not only obtaining his DBA but learning how he could be more effective in introducing embedded quality at Swindon.
Mick started off his research by searching the quality literature. There was no shortage of this. But soon Mick realised that he was concerned with that branch of the quality literature that dealt with the ‘soft’ issues of organisational culture change. He became rather disenchanted with much of the literature because it was largely prescriptive. ‘I was dubious about a lot of what the gurus were saying,’ said Mick. ‘They seemed to be saying that if you get your employees to believe this and do that then everything will be fine. I was sceptical of this because I knew through my MBA studies that the success of certain techniques is usually contingent upon the individual circumstances of the organisation.’ Nonetheless Mick became attracted to the idea that embedding certain core values in the organisation was a good way of achieving quality goals. The problem was that he did not know which core values were appropriate for his site.
Therefore, his research question became: What are the core values that need to be adopted in Zarlink, Swindon if embedded quality is to become a success?
More specifically Mick’s research objectives were:
1. To identify general constructs which constitute ‘embedding quality’ within an organization.
2. To compare these beliefs with those espoused by a sample from the senior Zarlink management team.
3. To investigate the experiences and attitudes of the current workforce towards the quality management system at the Zarlink foundry, Swindon.
4. To propose a framework of core values to facilitate the embedding of quality into Zarlink, Swindon.
Having used the literature to refine his research question and objectives Mick then turned his attention to collecting primary qualitative data within Zarlink.
Write a report advising Mick on which method(s) of qualitative data collection he should choose. Justify your answers using relevant literature.
In developing your arguments, you should consider:
• The advantages and disadvantages of a range of different qualitative research methods of qualitative data collection;
• Whether Mick should consider using multiple qualitative methods of data collection;
• Any potential issues of validity and reliability or any issues related to Mick’s position as an internal researcher at the organisation;
• How Mick can best analyse any qualitative data collected.
[Adapted from Case 5b, Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2016), “Research Methods for Business Students” (7th ed.), Harlow, Essex: Pearson.]
Module Learning Outcomes Assessed:
1. Evaluate appropriate analytical skills necessary in a chosen field of research.
2. Design valid and reliable qualitative research projects.
3. Produce high level report writing and communication skills
Presentation Requirements:
Word Count: 2000 words ± 10%) (excluding tables, figures and references)
Font Size: Times New Roman size 12
Line Spacing: 2 (Double space)
Assessment Weighting for the Module: 50%
Assessment Criteria
Analytical Rigour and application 40%
(Identification of underlying issues, depth of analysis, concepts and theories critically and clearly related and applied to the study)
Engagement with research 40%
(Evidence of wide reading, and appropriate inclusion of research-based concepts)
Presentation 20%
(Clarity of argument, structure)
Ethical Requirements
At this stage of your research, I do not anticipate that you will already start collecting data and therefore I do not think you will need the ethical approval.
Essential Reading for Coursework Task
(if in addition to reading provided in the module outline):
You will find some relevant references on the module outline which you can use to start the project. However, you need to do your own research and look for more evidence to use for the project.
1. Bell, E, Bryman A, and Harley, B (2018) Business Research Method


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