March 3, 2009

Sample Research Proposal on Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Competitor Intelligence

Introduction

The modern age of digital electronics made it possible for business and corporate organizations to keep up with the demands of their industries. At present, most business organizations are equipped with the latest information technology (IT) systems that enable them to function fully and effectively. IT has given everyone an opportunity. It has provided every person with the ability to communicate and perform tasks which were impossible to do before the arrival of the 21st century. As such, modern information technology has been considered the result of a crucial connection between digital and communication technologies. It has been declared as the fundamental core of an information system, which involves various interactions between data, the users, software, hardware, business corporations and their environment.

 

Information has always been a critical factor to a success of a business. For this reason, every company in this age must realize the importance of information technology. Not only does it play a role, but it must somehow, blend with the corporation's business strategies and techniques. To fully understand the concept of information technology, one must examine its interaction with the world and all its factors around it such as economic, political and social issues. Unless IT professionals are aware of this fact, they are most likely to remain as mere pawns to those who are. Likewise, in the corporate world today, business firms who encounter many setbacks with regards to their IT projects are a result of their failure to understand all the factors that are involved in information systems.

 

In this case, aside from information technology infrastructures along with privacy, security issues and the ethics and moral obligations of industrial espionage that beset the international business environment, understanding of the strategic plans and objectives of corporations will contribute to the full comprehension of evolving means to doing business at present. Hence, this research activity is geared towards the investigation of the case of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited's (NLNG Ltd) migration from business intelligence to competitor intelligence (CI) as part of its management tool. Evaluation of the effectiveness of competitor intelligence as a management tool will be highlighted by utilizing the implementation and application used by NLNG Ltd. 

 

 

Methodology

This study will operate under the quantitative paradigm wherein the survey method will be utilized in order to elicit the relevant information needed to complete research (Frankfort-Nachmias & Nachmias, 1992). Besides, quantitative research plainly and distinctively specifies both the independent and the dependent variables under investigation (Matveev, 2002). It also follows resolutely the original set of research goals, arriving at more objective conclusions, determining the issues of causality and eliminates or minimises subjectivity of judgment (Kealey & Protheroe, 1996).

 

The survey method will be implemented in three successive data collection procedures. These will include the pretest of the questionnaire, the actual survey, and the back-checking after the analysis of the data. The pretest of the survey will be necessary in order to identify possible shortcomings of the instrument that may hinder the efficient collection of valid and reliable data. On the other hand, the back-checking that will be implemented will provide assurance that the results of the analysis are consistent with that of the available information and facts in the field. The researcher will gather secondary data and collate published studies from different local and foreign universities and articles from social science journals

 

The data collection instrument will be a structured questionnaire that will be 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. By rating scale we mean the scales that are usually used to measure attitudes towards an object, the degree to which an object contains a particular attribute, (Like or dislike), toward some attribute, or the importance attached to an attribute.

 

The use of stratified random sampling technique was grounded on the need to ensure the represenativeness of the respondents in the survey method. This particular sampling technique ensures the validity and reliability of the data based on the number or quantity of the respondents who filled out the survey questionnaires. Stratified random sampling technique operates by classifying the target population into group classifications as set by the researcher. The samples are chosen through several selection procedures that usually take several stages depending on the complexity of the characteristics of the possible respondents and the interest of the researcher (Trochim, 2001).

 

Ensuring the validity of the accumulated data is considered to be the most crucial stage of the research endeavor. Since a methodology is always employed in the service of a research question, validation of the inferences made on the basis of data from one analytic approach demands the use of multiple sources of information through validation study built into the design (Kaplan & Duchon, 1998; Foss & Ellefsen, 2002; Mingers, 2001).

 

 

Literature Review

A number of articles, academic papers, journals and other relevant references have provided and researches on the concept of information management. The continuous advancement in technology gave way to inquisitive inquiries on the logic that governs information management, its importance and its drawbacks. It has been studied in the perspective of different disciplines such as social, political, legal management, communication, science, and business courses. Information management has been a familiar concept since then. Earl (1998) discussed the importance of good information management in the ever-increasing demands of the global business industries which are common nowadays. He emphasized the relevance of the search for global efficiency, local responsiveness, transfer learning and external alliances through proper information management in a particular business organization.

 

Information management (IM) is the administration of data with regards to its uses and transmission as well as the application of theories and techniques of information science to be able to create, modify, or improve information handling systems within a particular business organization (slim.emporia.edu). It is the function of managing the organization's information resources which includes the creating, capturing, registering, classifying, indexing, storing, retrieving and disposing of records and developing strategies to manage records. It also includes the acquisition, control and disposal of library and other information products, items kept for reference purposes, and the provision of services to internal and external customers, based on information resources. Data administration, archival records and the handling of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are also classified under this category (metadata.curtin.edu.au).

 

IM describes the measures required for the effective collection, storage, access, use and disposal of information to support agency business processes. The core of these measures is the management of the definition, ownership, sensitivity, quality and accessibility of information. These measures are addressed at appropriate stages in the strategic planning lifecycle and applied at appropriate stages in the operational lifecycle of the information itself (www.records.nsw.gov). It is the provision of relevant information to the right person at the right time in a usable form to facilitate situational understanding and decision-making. It uses procedures and information systems to collect, process, store, display, and disseminate information (atiam.train.army.mil). Information management is the handling of knowledge acquired by one or many disparate sources in a way that optimizes access by all who have a share in that knowledge or a right to that knowledge (wikipedia.org).

 

According to Hulnik (2002) the private sector intelligence and security is necessary in order for companies to profit for the interest of the owners, shareholders, and mangers. The marketplace intelligence or the competitive intelligence is the most significant area of the private investigation sector that focuses on the knowledge management and information utilization for the benefit of the business organization. The market intelligence has been popular due to the drive of the Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) to encourage the members of the private industry to make use of intelligence in undertaking their business processes. In this regard, competitive intelligence will contribute to the business decision-making of the stakeholders of the company through access to important information outside the organization.

 

However, the collection-analysis process of the concept of competitive intelligence is most critical when it comes to the strategic planning of the company particularly those that operate in the international market. The media as well as the academic sector have not been very adept to such subject as evident in the limited literature tackling the issues and implications of practicing competitive intelligence by the business sector. But undeniably a very busy network of professionals is involved in the business of political risk analysis who provide information and recommendations to prospective investors that are interested in starting up businesses overseas. Most of the professionals in this career are concerned to in the social, political, and economic information of developing countries along with other business environment or setting where business deals present dangers to the entirety of the organization (Hulnik, 2002). 

 

 

Objectives and Deliverables

In order to meet the expected outcomes of this research proposal, the researcher is duty-bound to attain the following aims and objectives of this particular research study:

 

1.      To find out the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing competitive intelligence in the business sector.

 

2.       To determine the reasons why NLNG Ltd management decided to undertake strategic change migrating from business intelligence to competitive intelligence.

 

3.      To explain the processes utilized by NLNG Ltd in realizing the goals of competitive intelligence in the context of the company.

 

4.      To enumerate the implications of the perceptions, attitudes and behaviors of the members of NLNG Ltd management and staff involve in delivering the goals of competitive intelligence.

 

5.      To analyze the implications of the practicing competitive intelligence in the industry where NLNG Ltd belongs to. .

 

 

Project Plan

A data or information analysis plan was prepared to organize the information collected orderly so as to make the presentation of the results more comprehensive as well as to make sure that research objectives are achieved and the research questions were answered. In summary, the researcher will undergo four major phases to complete the study:

 

Phase 1: Problem Identification for Research This involves reviewing existing theory, research, and practices from professional literature. This process helped integrate theoretical perspectives and empirical findings with the own understanding of the problem, and discern the aspect of the problem the researcher want to research and learn more about. Phase 2: Administration of the Instrument. After reviewing literature, the researcher will formulate questions for the survey and makes a set of guide questionnaires for the interview. These are then presented to the adviser for validation purposes. After this the researcher initiated a process of building collaborations with the respondents who participated in the study.

 

Phase 3: Data Collection and Analysis. In the third phase, the researcher will collect and analyse data for the purposes of identifying critical contextual variables specific to their setting. These data will enable the achievement of a specific understanding of the problem. Phase 4: Data Synthesis and Generation of Recommendations. The researcher will synthesize the findings from the previous phases and relevant previous research to modify existing hypotheses and account for different factors that will transpire during the analysis, as well as generate recommendations based on new understandings. During this phase, practice-based recommendations for action will be generated.

 

The schedule of activities that the researcher will need to undertake in order to complete this particular research endeavor is illustrated in the Gantt chart below:


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