February 27, 2009

Sample Research Proposal on A Epistemological and Ontological Approach

 

New Historicism is a school of thought insisting on the main importance of historical context to the interpretation of texts of all kinds (Collingwood, 1994). It has a great influence upon many disciplines of thought, recently experiencing a lively renewal in contemporary literary criticism (Copeland, 1991). The most prominent late 20th-century critical fashions, post structuralism and postmodernism, have ended up being understood through the images of history they imply (Hutcheon, 1988). Yet this historical turn rejoins a well-worn tradition of historicism. At present, historicism is tempted to present itself as 'new', the latest way forward for literary theory (Kristeva, 1980). That alone might be a good reason for a book on it. In addition, though, to briefing students on the current state of the critical art, a book on historicism should identify an underlying pattern of historical explanation recurring at different times in different forms (Levenson, 1984).

While human beings have generally tried to understand themselves historically, they have not always done so as historicists (Newman, 1985). Historicism emerges in reaction to the practice of deducing from first principles truths about how people are obliged to organize themselves socially and politically (Attridge and Ferrar, 1984). The natural laws governing human behavior at all times are formulated, and cultures evaluated by the degree to which they approximate to this ideal pattern. Historicists oppose this tradition, which, primarily associated with the Enlightenment, stretches, in different versions, from the 17th-century natural-law theorists to the sophistications of Kant and Hegel (Bruns, 1992). They argue instead that human nature is too various for such legislation to be universally applicable. They therefore have to evolve a model for apprehending social and cultural diversity different from the scientific, law-governed paradigm of the Enlightenment (Eagleton, 1990). Romantic aesthetics that sense of a human richness unmeasured by scientific calculation and best equated with a natural grandeur similarly exceeding computation immediately offers itself for this purpose. There is a perception about ideology, a society's unconscious tailoring of criteria of objectivity to fit its own interests - comes into play, because historicists, especially nowadays, frequently define themselves as critics who refuse to take the past on its own terms, regarding the economy with which it regulated the possible meanings of different genres as the ideological constraint to be broken (Forrester, 1990). The deregulation of original economies of meaning which historicists claim to achieve characterizes the transition from modernity to post modernity (Jenkins, 1995). Modernity's typical insistence on the 'new' is overridden by post modernity's refusal to accept the fixed sense of the past against which modernity asserted its novelty (Brennan, 1993).

 

According to Michel Foucault, hermeneutics looks directly opposed to the hermeneutics of suspicion, as Paul Ricoeur calls it, by which tradition and historical explanation are revalued, transformed and generally opened up to a more sophisticated critical practice, one taking its bearings from Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. Foucault appears fascinated by history, but only, it appears, in order to prove that there is no intellectually respectable continuity between past concerns and their modern transformations (Greenblatt and Dunn, 1992 and Fukuyama, 1992). Dialectic between the two is a deception. The only kind of history on Nietzsche's list for which Foucault has any time is 'critical' history, eventually dismissed by Nietzsche as too destructive of those illusions we need for effective action and life (Littlejohn, 1992). Foucault, in his essay 'Nietzsche, Genealogy, History', reshapes the early Nietzsche of the Untimely Meditations from the perspective of his later writings, much as Lacan does with Freud, in order to engineer 'the sacrifice of the subject of knowledge (Eagleton, 1985). Again, a subject/object science is the target, but it is attacked here in order to show the illusoriness of both subject and object except as the effects of a will to power transcending both (Ellman and Feidelson,1995).

In his detection of 'other unities', Foucault looks committed to a more genuinely historical recovery of the past than before (Ferry and Renaut, 1990). This traditional ambition, though, is complicated for him by the shape, highly problematic for historiography, in which he thinks the past should appear. Foucault seeks the rules identifying both the emergence and the dispersal of past objects (Fokkema, 1985). The objects themselves the staple of historical salvage, after all, whether empirical or intellectual, their connections, organizing concepts and recurrent themes are secondary to the process of discursive formation (Porter, 1988). Yet, in Foucault's slightly circular argument, a discursive formation only certainly exists when it can produce objective effects (Eco, 1986). History returns, though, when his description of the 'law of emergence' of such objects aims to be sophisticated enough to account for the contradictory variety of things which define any historical moment in the writings and disciplines of the past (Adorno, 1986).

Foucault, then, states that he has defined a 'discursive formation', and thus historically located an 'episteme', when he 'can show that it may give birth simultaneously or successively to mutually exclusive objects, without having to modify itself' (Acheson, 1992). This also seems to hold true for science. Foucault's immediate examples are from the histories of medicine, psychology, economics and grammar. In 'What is an Author?', Cuvier and Saussure are as much founders of biology and linguistics because they make possible systems diametrically opposed to their own (Barthes, 1977). Contradictory positions do not disqualify these disciplines but historicize them. Nor are contradictions evidence of an ideology to be seen through or a repression to be psychoanalysed (Armstrong, 1987). There is not, in Foucault's view, a unified truth, which people may disguise from themselves and keep unconscious; and so the interpreter's task is not to unearth this bedrock lying beneath its contradictory manifestations. Instead, Foucauldian archaeology takes cross-sections of the contradictory significance existing at any one time. The mapping of historical strata exposes the discursive formation whose tolerance of these contradictions keeps itself in power. In Hegel's phenomenology and Marx's dialectical materialism, contradiction is the motor-force of change. In Foucault it is the sign of an established discursive formation. Foucault, like his near-contemporary Marxist teacher Althusser, thinks that the power belying our sense of being autonomous individuals resides precisely in that sense, policing us through our ideas of emancipation, throughout moments of imaginary resistance, expressed in the contradictory fullness of what is said, not in truths unsaid of which our words are the distortion (Buttler, 1984). Foucault's influence on contemporary critical theory and practice has been immense, evident not only in the writings of actual devotees but also through its gaining of a general terminological currency, comparable to the widespread literacy in psychoanalytical idioms. Like Freudian and Lacanian language too, Foucault's key terms have been taken out of context, but in a manner of which he might have approved, to provide the means for the assimilation of postmodernity to popular philosophical and critical understanding. Most students know that Foucault appears to be a structuralist but is in fact highly critical of all totalizing thinking (Eagleton, 1985, 60).

This dialectic engenders once more the 'funny' postmodern logic Samuel Weber saw to be the consequence of Lacanian critique (Kristeva, 1980). Derrida rejoices in the double-takes that his complex historicist scenario throws up. In the book of the postcard, The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, the postman of historical truth conveys past writers' dictation to their successors, but not in the overweening, presumptuous manner resented by Marx and Nietzsche. The past only gets the message it so originally rewords from a present it is now empowered to bypass as it speaks to the future. Historical difference becomes différance, Derrida's famous coinage for a meaningful relation indefinitely deferred, like the photographic negative to be developed after twenty-five centuries (Newman, 1985). The past, a good Nietzschean, overcomes its own monumentality and tyranny 'so that', as John Forrester comments on Lacan's report to the Rome Congress, 'the future becomes an open question, instead of being specified by the fixity of the past' (Hens and Innes, 2000). The originally therapeutic model of psychoanalysis is replaced by an ideal of emancipated interpretation, converging on the undistorted communication with the past desired by Benjamin and Habermas. But we need the therapeutic historicism arising out of this parallel to give the open air of history any outline or substance. Otherwise our conclusion will be as tentative and equivocal as those we drew from Foucault's oeuvre.

According to Derrida, Plato dictates a past for Socrates to write down. The supposed amanuensis of Socrates' spoken dialogues has in fact got his master to write them. But Socrates' trick is to send this writing, like a postcard, to Derrida. He leapfrogs Plato, confounding Plato's simple desire for mastery, and offers instead a subtle contribution to hermeneutical dialectics only intelligible much later on (Copeland, 1991). Yet the significance of the postcard is also to decipher a present and open it up for future meanings. Present new historicism distinguishes itself by its heightened consciousness of criticism's institutional past, and of how its methodological changes might have served particular cultural interests. Alteration of the American academic population as a result of a European flight from Nazi persecution can be matched by recent recruitment to higher education institutions of many more women and members of ethnic minorities (Forrester, 1990). Each constituency has wrought its changes in critical practice, suggesting an underlying historicism which any critical theory endeavoring to understand itself is obliged to uncover. This is always a double-edged affair, as the critical establishment's accommodation of the new interests soon becomes the background against which new arrivals define themselves. Hence the concession that historical difference might incorporate cultural difference, and the view that old historicism might do enough by widening its agenda somewhat, is met by arguments for a distinctiveness of postcolonial or feminist theory necessitating yet another 'new' historicism (Jenkins, 1995). Like Foucault,Derrida,Deleuze, Guattari,Bhabha assume a material human base responsible for differences in culture, characterized rather than invalidated by this power to produce diversity. They assume that to understand our difference from the past is by definition to understand how this difference is significant. This study will explore the concepts of Power, Knowledge , Identity, Self and Suffering in Samuel Beckett's pentalogy of novels, Molloy,Malone Dies,The Unnamable,Murphy and Watt  by using the concepts of New Historicism and Post Structuralism.

 

Statement of the Problem

            Studying new historicism and post structuralism requires the trend on the classifications and associations of some literary criticisms and commentaries on the topic. The research will proceed by considering the following problems:

1.      The issues under the new historicism and its many defining themes and ideas from Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Guattari, Bhabha, Habermas and Heidegger.

2.      Post-structuralism not as an alternative philosophy, as a rigorously critical method for deconstructing metaphysics.

3.      Different issues in the society in Samuel Beckett's pentalogy of novels.

4.      Definitions of Knowledge, identity, self and suffering in Samuel Beckett's pentalogy of novels.

Definition of Key Terms

Hermeneutics- is considered to be the science of interpreting Scripture. Secular hermeneutics retains the idea of relating the individual work to a larger purpose into whose pattern it meaningfully fits. Understood hermeneutically, a text's meaning is limited by the value accorded its discourse within the culture of its first audience. Nevertheless, between that past reception and our present attempts to understand it, the text will in all likelihood have generated many more interpretations.

New Historicism- is a critical movement insisting on the prime importance of historical context to the interpretation of texts of all kinds.

Post-structuralism- the readers are the most powerful and the authority in interpreting the literary texts they are reading

Epistemology- Epistemology is the study of how we know what we know. This branch of philosophy studies the origins of knowledge.

Ontology- Ontological issues revolve around the nature of the phenomenon we are seeking to understand. In the case of interpersonal communication, we are seeking to understand the nature of the human being and human relations.

 

Delimitation of the Study

            Since the study is about the pentalogy novels of Samuel Beckett, using New Historicism and Post- Structuralism. The study will be limited to the works of Samuel Beckett and the related studies published in the history of American literature. The study will also be limited to the premises of New Historicism and Post-structuralism. The reference materials and data will be used in this study are desktop and published materials that are relevant in the study and will be utilizing epistemological and ontological approach.

Method, Design and Approach

 

There are many competing epistemological and ontological positions of new historicism and post structuralism in the field of social sciences research. According to the positivists, values are subjective with moral dimensions attached to it, whereas facts are more valuable data because they can be verified so to enhance generalizations (Colin, 2002)  On the other hand, interpretavists, give emphasis on the holistic form of analysis and explanation, rather than just charting surface patterns or trends and correlations. Interpretavism have a more genuine interests to understand the social world that people produced, and believe that is the meanings embedded in language that constitute to the social reality

 

            Since this research is about the Power, Knowledge , Identity, Self and Suffering in Samuel Beckett's pentalogy of novels The interpretavist model allows the understanding of any unique features adhering to human conditions, its capacities of self-reflection and choice (May, 2001). This employed qualitative research because it is broadly interpretivist in nature that concern with how the social world is produced, interpreted and understood (Robson, 2002).  Therefore, many qualitative researchers commits to explore events of the social world through the eyes of the people that they study because they believe that the social world must be interpreted from the perspective of the people being studied (Bryman,  2001).  As summarized by Bryman:

 

"the epistemology underlying qualitative research as the face-to-face interaction is the fullest condition of participating in the mind of another human being; and one must participate in the mind of another human being to acquire social knowledge" (Bryman 2001:277).

 

 

This study also employs qualitative research method, since this research intends to find and build theories that would explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research. These qualitative elements does not have standard measures, rather they are behaviour, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. The secondary sources of data will come from published articles from social science journals, theses and related studies on learning. Acquiring secondary data are more convenient to use because they are already condensed and organized. Moreover, analysis and interpretation are done more easily.

 

Review of Related Literature

 

There are numerous studies that provided criticisms to Samuel Beckett's pentalogy of novels (Wall, 2002). In the most present criticism, resisted the belief that the novel possesses any single origin, though it progresses toward any final destination, however,  Yet if the pragmatic heritage does not represent the only point of departure for the novel, its sole and essential source, it positively stands as one of the genre's shaping influences (Beplate, 2005). The influence takes on special significance, not only because Descartes was crucial to Beckett's intellectual development but also because the basic situation in the Discourse--a man alone in a room,

Derrida studied the language used in Samuel Beckett's Unammable. The problem of language first raised upon the cultural scene and critics and Beckett's novel, betrays a loose vocabulary, the temptation of a cheap seduction, the passive yielding to fashion, and the consciousness of the avant- garde. Derrida arrived at a conclusion that there is a new cultural juncture in Beckett's novel (Barker, 1996). Because the word unammable, was overuse and misuse and have so debased value that it threatens to lose all significance, to become a word that comprehends everything and means nothing.

In other words, "name" the postmodern, but we must name it as in some sense "unnamable (Beckett, 1976). Beckett's perspective, these writers revolutionized literature when they attacked the objectivity and scientism of the realist novel, but their own turn "within," toward "subjectivity" and "consciousness," meant that they were not so much leaving behind the philosophy of the subject as breathing new life into it (Bitter, 1984 and Cantor, 1984). This is not to say, however, that Beckett believed he was, in some final sense, "overcoming" modernism. Beckett's conception of his undertaking, his postmodernism, recognized that an absolute break with the past, a complete suppression of what had gone before, was itself the product of a teleological or modern form of thinking (Coe, 1970 and Eslin, 1995)

According to another critic, Samuel Beckett's novels are full of images. The novel Watt and Macmann become patients in a mental hospital; Molloy and Malone endure what appears to be an institutional confinement; even Worm, surrounded by a "committee" that files reports, suffers under a clinical gaze of sorts (Gontarski, 1985). If standing behind Beckett's fiction is all the accumulated weight and tradition of the Enlightenment--extending from Descartes's empiricism to Balzac's scientism--then rising before it, beckoning to it, is the Enlightenment's mad inversion, the dark netherworld of insanity, where all the carefully articulated structures of the ratio collapse into chaos and unmeaning (Hesla, 1991). It is in the space that lies between these poles, the space that separates Reason from Unreason, the cogito from madness, that Beckett stages his first novel, Murphy.

The novels of Beckett have become our most enduring symbol of literary mimesis, the epitome not of reproduction but of duplication, a simulacrum of the world in which representation corresponds at every point to the thing represented (Hill, 1990). Consciousness functions as a "glassy essence," a window of perception that fixes in its luminous gaze all the shifting shapes and forms of reality. This process of speculation is complicated, however, when the subject and object of consciousness become one and the same, when reflection turns to self-reflection.

Tentative Outline

Chapter 1 of the research introduces the entire study by offering the reader a basic understanding of the concepts covered by the research topic and the context in which the study will proceed. Chapter 2 provides for a review of the books, articles and researches related to the subject of the research as theoretical and practical foundations for the research. The theories and concepts in the literature review becomes the basis for identifying and understanding the health and safety issues and responses to these issues of the construction industry in Singapore. Chapter 3 explores the methodological guide for the conduct of the study particularly the data to be gathered, the data gathering method, data analysis approaches, and ethical concerns such as credibility and reliability of the research. Chapter 4 contains data presentation and analysis directed towards answering the problems identified in the research. Chapter 5 contains the conclusions and recommendations of the researcher based on the data presented and analyzed.


Sample Research Proposal on Promoting Client Relation

 

Introduction

            Every organisation may it be profit or non-profit, public or private sectors are subject to factors that affects their performance in terms of providing services to their target market.   The notion of providing quality services or products is one of the most used strategies by public and private organisation. The goal of this strategy is to satisfy their customers and build good relationship with them. However, because of the emergence of the new global economy, it brings new economics, new market structures, new marketing strategy, and new industry structures which changed the profile of customers (Palmer, 1996).  

Organisations need to keep this development in mind to maintain its productive relationship with its customers.  In addition, these organisations should provide innovative solutions and services for managing customer relationships that optimize operating performance and accelerate financial results. 

Hence, the main goal of this research paper is to determine the factors that will enable the company promote good relations with their customers. In addition, this will also attempt to identify the possible hindrances for having good relationship with the customers. In this study, the background, context and theme of the study are presented; the objectives of the study and the research statements are formulated. Here, vital concepts, questions and assumptions are stated. Finally, overview of the methodology to be used and the significance of the research are discussed. Further, this paper briefly reviews related literature.

 

Objective of the Study

The research aims to determine the factors that will enable the company to promote good relations with the customers. Further, this study will also review related literatures to have some insights about these elements for having good relations with their target market.  The study also aims to provide insightful details regarding this issue to help different industries become competitive in the marketplace.

 

Research Questions

            Many organisations and industries are trying to achieve its organisational goal by focusing on their target market. Most business is using different ways to have a good relation with their customers or clients. Hence, this study intends to determine the factors that will enable an organisation to promote good relations with their customer. Specifically, the research will attempt to answer the following queries.

1.      What are the factors that will help the company promote good relations with their customers.

2.      What are the possible hindrances that may affect the promotion of good relations with the customers?

3.      What marketing strategy can be implemented for assuring good customer relations?

 

Hypothesis

            In this particular research, the researcher will focus on the following hypothesis:

            "Providing quality Products and Service ensure good customer relations.'

            "Meeting the needs of the customers ensure good customer relations."

            "Using effective Customer Relationship Management helps in having good customer relations."

 

Literature Review

            Superior customer service is a critical differentiator in an increasingly competitively marketplace. Companies that give customers what they want it will increase customer satisfaction and ultimately gain greater market share, generating more revenue and enjoying higher profitability (Ragins & Greco, 2003).

Customer Relationship Marketing is a practice that encompasses all marketing activities directed toward establishing, developing, and maintaining successful customer relationships. The focus of relationship marketing is on developing long-term relationships and improving corporate performance through customer loyalty and customer retention (Peppers & Rogers, 1997).

With the advent of the internet the dynamics of business have changed
forever. Traditional business influences differentiators such as location; convenience and switching cost have become much less relevant. For businesses and organisations around the world, from banks and mortgage companies to manufacturers, universities and service companies- the playing field has been quickly and radically levelled.

In the new business environment, one of the only ways left to
differentiate your organisation from the competition is the quality of you customer service. Superior customer service gives customers real reasons for doing businesses with you. That's why industry analyst agree that inter based customer service is one of the biggest and most crucial opportunities available on the web today (Tan, Yen & Fang, 2002)

Relationship Marketing can be seen as a means of gaining competitive advantage (Ragins & Greco, 2003) especially through the acquisition of intangible assets, such as knowledge, commitment and trust. Therefore, from a relationship marketing standpoint, particular importance is placed on achieving the goals of generating and increasing intangible resources (Knights & Morgan, 1991). Communications, transaction activities, information research are all parts of traditional marketing, but can marketers improve or streamline these traditional marketing processes? If we look toward and apply some of the ubiquitous electronic communications facilities, such as e-mail, online discussion groups and the World Wide Web readily at hand, and investigate some of the more esoteric electronic marketing resources, these processes can be improved or streamlined (Cohen & Moore, 2002). With these tools you can better research your products or services industry, better research environmental trends, better target your markets, maintain better knowledge of and communications with your current and prospective customers , and receive almost instantaneous feedback on new products or services.

 

Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management has emerged as a strategy used to learn more about customers' needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships with them.  It works on the fundamental tenet that the customers are at the heart business success. In general, the firm needs to value its customers based on the total value of their relationship with the company, the potential value of their relationship, the profitability of their relationship, the insights they can provide the company, and the influence that they wield over other customers.  Through these, the firm can have an effective customer relationship management without using any technological database or software (Butler 2000).

            In brief, Customer relationship management  is a business strategy that attempts to ensure every customer interaction that is appropriate and consistent regardless of the communication channel and that CRM is a core business strategy for managing and optimizing customer interactions across the public or private's institutions' traditional and electronic interfaces. CRM can be used to gain clearer insight and more intimate understanding of customers' behaviors and in helping to build an effective competitive advantage and its relationship to the e-business process (Khirallah 2000) and that committed customers can be viewed as company assets who are likely to be a source of favourable referrals and are more resistant to competitors' offers (Khirallah 2000).

 

Overview of Methodology

The study intends to determine the possible ways for promoting good relations with the customers. For this study, primary research and secondary research will be utilized. Primary research is conducted using questionnaire surveys that are sent to selected respondents. Here, the questionnaires will be used to collect quantitative data and the interviews will be used to provide qualitative insights into the data collected. As stated above, this research will partially base its findings through quantitative research methods because this permits a flexible and iterative approach. During data gathering the choice and design of methods are constantly modified, based on ongoing analysis. This study will also employ qualitative research method because it will try to find and build theories that will explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research. Through this method, qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behavior, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs within the business domain will be analyzed.

 

Respondents of the Study

            In this research paper, it is important to distinguish and determines the respondents of the study.  The researcher plans to take a sample population of 30 managers from different companies. These respondents will be given informed consent to avoid problems.

 

Research Plan

For this research design, the researcher will gather data, collate published studies from different local and foreign universities and articles from social science journals; and make a content analysis of the collected documentary and verbal material related to customer relations. Afterwards, the researcher will summarise all the information, make a conclusion based on the hypotheses posited and provided insightful recommendations on how to promote good customer relations.  Due to travel distance and time limitation, the researcher does not think it feasible to get quantitative data through survey and qualitative data through face-to-face interviews with these respondents.

The questionnaire-survey will collect data on the respondents' demographic profile first to check that the sample is appropriately stratified and representative and second to provide further information about the sample for analysis purposes. To determine which strategies can promote good customer relations, the researcher will prepare a questionnaire and a set of guide questions for the interview that will be asked to the intended respondents. The data collection instrument will be a structured questionnaire that will be designed and based on Likert scale. A Likert Scale is a rating scale that requires the subject to indicate his or her degree of agreement or disagreement with a statement. Furthermore, another set of questionnaires will be prepared for the interview of experts in Information technology in different IT-based businesses. Ideally, the respondents will grade each statement in the survey-questionnaire using a Likert scale (Barnett, 1991), with a five-response scale wherein respondents will be given five response choices.

The equivalent weights for the answers will be:

Range                                    Interpretation

4.50 – 5.00                            Strongly Agree

3.50 – 4.00                            Agree

2.50 – 3.49                            Uncertain

1.50 – 2.49                            Disagree       

0.00 – 1.49                            Strongly Disagree

 

The researcher opted to use the questionnaire as a tool since it is easy to construct having the rules and principles of construction are easy to follow. Moreover, copies of the questionnaire could reach a considerable number of respondents either by mail or by personal distribution. Generally, responses to a questionnaire are objectified and standardised and these make tabulation easy. But more importantly, the respondents' replies are of their own free will because there is no interviewer to influence them. This is one way to avoid biases, particularly the interviewers' bias. The researcher will also use graph and charts for data presentation.

 

Conclusions

            With this research study, it can be concluded that in order for an organisation to have a good customer relations, they must be able to consider the needs of the customer and to satisfy them.  Customer relationship systems help organizations improve the profitability of their interactions with current and potential customers while at the same time making those interactions safer and friendlier through individualization and personalization. The marketing purpose and or goals of the concept of customer relations are to enhance customer service, improve customer satisfaction and ensure customer retention.

            For this research, the plausible outcomes include the identification of the factors that may promote good customer relations for a company. In addition, with this research, it is expected that the researcher will also determine the possible hindrances that may obstruct the promotion of good customer relations.


Sample Research Proposal on The Health and Safety Management in the Construction Industry in the Case of Singapore

Abstract

 

 

This essay utilized the Code of Practices for Site Safety Supervision in Singapore as the model legislative policy to review its present construction site safety management and how it dealt with critical situations. From the analysis, key trends in its construction site safety management were identified, how it worked and its effectiveness in dealing with critical situations was ascertained. The paper then moved on to assess its component construction site safety management strategies with regard to its suitability to critical situations, during which the internal capabilities of these safety management strategies in relation to the strategy being followed by most construction firms in Singapore was determined also. An overall analysis of the performance and effectiveness of the Code of Practices for Site Safety Supervision in Singapore was also conducted to assess and compare the capabilities of its construction site safety management strategies with those of others. Gaps in its construction site safety management capabilities were then identified.

Finally, several choices of strategies to improve the construction site safety management of most Singapore construction firms as effective means in critical situations were recommended and evaluated in terms of appropriateness to the issues reviewed, feasibility in carrying out the options and acceptability within the key stakeholders and decision makers. Several key implementation issues related to managing strategic change were also addressed as well.

 

 

 

Literature Review

 

Construction site safety management can be defined as the efficient and effective implementation of the policies and tasks necessary to satisfy the safety of a construction firm's employees and management. Construction safety management focuses on the careful management of the processes involved in the production and distribution of products and services within construction sites (Bernold et al. 1993). Activities such as the management of purchases, the control of inventories, logistics and evaluations are often related with construction site safety management. A great deal of emphasis lies on the efficiency and effectiveness of processes. Therefore, construction site safety management includes the analysis and management of internal processes (Blackmon et al. 1995).

Production safety planning is a necessary function indicated in the Code. In most construction companies this process is often very difficult because of the fast rate of change and the occurrences of unplanned events. Most companies also use several methodologies depending on what the situation demands and the price of the construction materials. Nevertheless, the objectives of the production safety planning do not change: efficiency, effectiveness and safety (Everett, 1999).

Production safety planning is being implemented by the Code in order for its activities and resources to be coordinated over time. This enables the construction firm to achieve overall safety in all of its operations with minimal resource utilization. Production safety planning also enables the construction firm to monitor the progress of their safety plans at regular intervals and maintain their control over operations. Production safety planning according to the Code involves four elements: scheduling, labor safety planning, equipment safety planning, and cost planning.

  • Scheduling involves the specification of the beginning, the length or the duration, and end of the planned activities geared towards achieving overall safety within the construction site.
  • Labor safety planning involves allocating the necessary personnel and delegation of responsibilities and resources to ensure the overall safety of all construction workforces.
  • Equipment safety planning involves identifying the types and needs in terms of safety of the equipments being used in the construction site.
  • Cost planning involves determining the costs and the possibility of their occurrence in terms of achieving the overall safety within the construction site.

The occurrence of construction site safety analysis within the construction sites of Singapore reflects the growing difficulty in the management of most Singapore construction firms that require the safe use of valuable construction resources such as money, materials, equipments, and people. This is perhaps the reason why construction site safety analysis is being emphasized in the Code in order to determine the most effective ways to coordinate these resources through the application of analytical methods derived from fields of studies such as mathematics, science, and engineering in order to create the safest construction site possible.

Through this process, safety concerns and problems within construction sites are solved in different ways and alternative solutions are then relayed to the construction firm's management concerned. The management then selects the appropriate course of action in line with their goals. More often than not, construction site safety analysis is concerned with complicated issues such as top-level construction safety strategy, construction safety resource allocation, and designing of production facilities and systems for construction site safety (Gans, 1981).

Construction site safety analysis actually may vary according to the structures and philosophy of the construction firm. But according to the Code, it centralizes construction site safety analysis in one department. Construction site safety analysis may also have the possibility of working closely with top level construction site managers in order to identify and solve a variety of safety problems.  No matter what the type or structure of the construction company is, construction site safety analysis operates under similar sets of methodologies in order to carry out the analysis to support the construction company's goal to improve the overall safety of its construction sites. The process is started by the description of the symptoms of a construction safety problem, followed by the formal definition of the problem. For example, a construction site safety analyst might be questioned regarding the most effective safety precaution for every needed part on a production line. Also, the analyst might be asked to determine the optimal number of emergency tools needed to be kept in inventory (Garza et al. 1998).

For Singapore construction sites to become effectively safe, the following construction site safety management improvement factors are critical:

·        Financial Stability

Financial stability is crucial especially in the pursuit of construction site safety management and development activities. In the construction industry, it is important to remain updated with the latest construction site safety management developments to be able to stay competitive in the market.

·        Construction Materials Performance and Price

The safety of the construction sites is dependent on well-funded construction safety management and development activities. The safety of the construction sites could also be linked to their cost-effectiveness. However, the construction firm has to be aware of the positioning in terms of process so as to maintain satisfactory profits margin and remain competitive in the market.

·        Safety Strategy and Implementation

High construction site safety awareness among the clients has created the need for aggressive lobbying of safety policies, and access to strong distribution channels is critical for the introduction of new safety precautions.

Research Aims and Objectives

 

            The aim of the study is to identify the health and safety issues in the construction industry of Singapore through descriptive research that seeks to develop new insights about how the industry handles health and safety issues, and how effective their policies are.

 

            The study will address the following objectives:

 

·        To conduct a comprehensive literature review on the different health and safety issues in the construction industry in Singapore.

·        To conduct interviews with Construction Company's manager and ask them about the different policies they implement to promote health and safety within the workplace.

·        To categorize the data collected and analyze them using both statistical and non-statistical means.

·        To provide recommendations as to how the health and safety policies of the construction industry in Singapore can be improved.

 

This research requires organized data gathering procedure to meet the identified objectives. In this study, the descriptive research strategy proved useful. 

A descriptive research is a type of study that tries to explore the cause of a particular phenomenon, present facts concerning the nature and status of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study, and portray an accurate profile of persons, events or situations (Creswell, 1994; Robson, 2002). The approach undertaken for such type of study was chosen for a number of reasons.

The descriptive approach is quick and flexible giving rise to three advantages: first, when new issues and questions arise during the duration of the study, this approach allows a further investigation. Secondly, when there are unproductive areas from the original plan of the study, the researcher can drop them; and thirdly, the approach is more practical in terms of time and money (Creswell, 1994).

Basically, descriptive research uses observations and interviews. For this reason, the researcher chose this approach because it is the intention of the researcher to gather first hand data from the key people to determine the current health and safety status in terms of success and problem areas and the responses to their present condition. With the help of the descriptive approach, a clear picture of the said phenomena may be provided (Saunders et al. 2003).

Finally, this type of study may serve as an extension or a forerunner to a piece of exploratory research, a valuable research approach employed to: discover what is happening; seek new insights; ask questions; and/or evaluate a phenomenon in a new light (Robson, 2002).

For this study, the interview method was used to gather the pertinent data. This strategy allows a researcher to have more control over the research process and obtain wide-ranging data (Saunders et al 2003).

 

Hypothesis

 

The following hypotheses were derived from the analysis of the literature on health and safety in construction industry of Singapore which is the focus of the study.

1.         Compliance with health and safety standards is highly considered by the construction companies because of the risk involved equates to a corresponding expected returns so that controlling risk means ensuring great returns.

2.         Health and safety issues arising in the construction industry revolve around the integration of the health and safety practices of each company in terms of identification of health and safety plan, approval and consensus building, implementation and evaluation.

4.         Responses to the health and safety issues cover the differences in the health and safety practices of each company, operations leadership and control and the goals and objectives of the construction industry.

 

Time Table

            This study is expected to be finished for approximately six months. The following is the estimated time schedule:

 

Month

Task

January

Ø      This month involves the approval of the proposal as well as other modifications that should be made with it.

 

February

This month will be dedicated to field research, particularly on construction companies and the Singapore government.

March

This month will be crucially for publication materials research for the body of the study.

April

This month will be research, survey and reviews.

May

Analysis of data and writing.

June

Presentation and Defense of the study.

 

 

Structural Organization of the Dissertation

 

Chapter 1 of the research introduces the entire study by offering the reader a basic understanding of the concepts covered by the research topic and the context in which the study will proceed. Chapter 2 provides for a review of the books, articles and researches related to the subject of the research as theoretical and practical foundations for the research. The theories and concepts in the literature review becomes the basis for identifying and understanding the health and safety issues and responses to these issues of the construction industry in Singapore. Chapter 3 explores the methodological guide for the conduct of the study particularly the data to be gathered, the data gathering method, data analysis approaches, and ethical concerns such as credibility and reliability of the research. Chapter 4 contains data presentation and analysis directed towards answering the problems identified in the research. Chapter 5 contains the conclusions and recommendations of the researcher based on the data presented and analyzed.


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