March 3, 2009

Sample Research Proposal on Exploring Organizational Cultures

Background

Management of a firm needs strategy, to make sure that everything goes well in the company.  It is important to know what strategy is about, what can it do help the company prosper, what will happen if not used properly, what are the advantages and disadvantages of having a strategy. Strategy is a plan that assimilates the company's major target; policies and rules; decisions and sequences of action into organized whole. It can apply at all levels of organization and pertain to any of the functional areas of management (Proctor 2000). Strategy is plagued by a stigma of unsystematic reasoning. It is also used in incomplete searches for strategic alternatives, and bounded rationality (Proctor 2000). Strategy is a combination of the company's objectives, policies and decisions to be done in unison or contingent upon each other. Strategy thus refers to how a company's products or services its trade is presented to consumers in an effective manner as to gain loyal costumers.

 

Strategy can be used in different ways, one of which is through marketing. Using strategy in marketing makes it more convincing and effective. Strategy makes sure that nothing wrong happens in the marketing process in the company. A business strategy reflects managerial choices among different alternatives and signals organizational commitment to particular products, markets, competitive approaches, and ways of operating the enterprise. When firms formulate their business strategies, they define their objectives while considering their resources and capabilities. Additionally, they respond to the opportunities and constraints in the marketplace. Hence, it is important to understand the driving forces of the competitive environment (Culpan 2002). The strategy of the firm is the match between its internal capabilities and its external relationships. It describes how it responds to its suppliers, its customers, its competitors, and the social and economic environment within which it operates. The analysis of strategy uses people's experience of the past to develop concepts, tools, data, and models which will illuminate these decisions in future. Taking corporate and business strategy together, people learn why some firms succeed and others fail (Culpan 2002). Strategy is a way for the company to survive internally and externally. It is what a company uses to compete with competitors. Strategy is also what the company uses to bring better services to people. Without a strategy that is effective a company might end up having more problems.

 

The strategic alignment maturity assessment provides organizations with a vehicle to evaluate these activities. Knowing the maturity of its strategic choices and alignment practices makes it possible for a firm to see where it stands and how it can improve. In the past, methods have been introduced that address one or a few of the criteria. Focusing on anything less than all six components will put IT-business alignment at risk, as with the success of a family (Luftman 2003). Strategic Alignment makes sure that the goals of the firm can be reached and that there is a distinction between Information Systems strategy and Business strategy. Strategic alignment has different models. This will be shown in the first table.

Strategic Alignment model

Purpose

Basic strategic planning

This model is used by small companies

Issue based or goal based planning

This model design strategies to address the companies' goals.

Alignment planning

This model identifies what is working well and what needs adjustments

Scenario planning

This model can be used with other models to ensure that planners initiate strategic thinking

Organic planning

This model is general to specific or cause to effect in nature.

(Taken from www.managementhelp.org)

Organizational Culture

Modern organizations are confronted with a series of unprecedented changes, such as large scale mergers and acquisitions, globalization, as well as the rise of virtual organizations made possible by new communication technologies. Accordingly, a manager's universe is marked by increased complexity and uncertainty. The challenge for organizations and their leaders today is to remain coherent while dealing with the increasingly specific demands of its many different stakeholders. In such a world, identity plays a critical role because it provides meaning, stability, and distinctiveness. Who are we? Is one of the most critical questions organizations and their executives need to address (Moingeon & Soenen 2002).

 

Answering the identity question will bear on the positioning of the company, its structure, its culture, its communication strategy, and its human resource policies. In fact, it will inform much of what the company does. Executives are not, however, the only ones concerned with providing an answer: employees, clients, and various external audiences also have vested interests and will make certain that their voices are also heard. As a result, firms have multiple identities, and these identities have multiple facets. If well managed, they may be a source of competitive advantage, but left unattended, they may become liabilities (Moingeon & Soenen 2002).

 

The cultural approach to organizations became popular in the 1980s. Reasons for the emergence of organizational culture studies are manifold. As suggested, there was a need to seek for new methods to study organizations and to find subjective concepts to replace the old objective' concepts in order to understand organizational essence. Culture became a theoretical tool to cross over the traditional micro- and macro-level organizational analysis. In general, internationalization gave impulses to study cultural aspects of business communication. By now people can see the many branches stemming from the cultural perspective, its several theoretical and methodological contexts, and any idea of its simplicity, trend-like appearance or hegemony over other concepts, meets with a difficulty when facing this diversity. Among the approaches, the notion of organizations as mini-cultures was raised by organizational educators and practitioners seeking more comprehensive ways of understanding organizational behavior and management. This debate encouraged research that explored the complex factors influencing behavior within organizations. The relationships between non-rational factors and multiple-level organizational outcomes were explored especially, and the focus was on the symbolism of organizational life in general (Aaltio & Mills 2002).

 

 The first approaches of organizational culture emphasized its invisibility, whereas nowadays multiple methodologies and methods of analysis and interpretations are accepted. Exploring organizational cultures and their gendered nature means making them visible. Gender at work is the problematic issue in numerous accounts, among which the relationship between organizational culture and the social construction of gendered identities is of special interest. Sadly, despite the development of extensive scholarship on gender and organizations, the mainstream accounts, including the organizational culture debate, continue to ignore the relationship between organizational arrangements and gender. In addition, even when institutional contexts are accepted as having a great impact on gender in organizational realities, the channels by which they delve into the everyday life of people are still largely ignored (Aaltio & Mills 2002).

 

Aims and Objectives

The main aim of the study is determine how organizational culture affects strategic alignment in Saudi companies.  This study intends to determine the relationship between organizational culture and strategic alignment. The study also intends to determine the relationship between business and IT strategy.  The study also has other objectives. This includes the following.

  1. Finding out the situation in Saudi Arabia companies.
  2. Determine the organizational culture of Saudi Arabian companies
  3. Determine the business and IT strategy of the companies.
  4. Evaluate how organizational culture affects strategic alignment in Saudi companies by conducting a survey in the country. 
  5. Evaluate the relationship between organizational culture and strategic alignment.
  6. Analysis of the collected data in order to determine how organizational culture affects strategic alignment in Saudi Arabian companies.
  7. Draw conclusions and recommendations to be taken in consideration for the future of the companies.

 

Methodology

The research process onion of Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2003) will guide the researcher in order to come up with the most suitable research approaches and strategies for this study. The research process union will be used as a basis to show the researcher's conceptualization of the most applicable research approaches and strategies that will lead to the gathering of the necessary data needed to answer the research questions stated, as well as to arrive to the fulfillment of this research undertaking's objectives. The research will use the descriptive method to determine how organizational culture affects strategic alignment in Saudi companies. Descriptive research tries to explore the cause of a particular event or situation. It also wants to present facts concerning the nature and status of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study (Creswell 1994).

 

In addition, such method tries to describe present conditions, events or systems based on the impressions or reactions of the participants of the research. Basically, a descriptive research utilizes observations and surveys. For this reason, the study calls for the use of this approach because it is a goal of the study to gather first hand information from bank managers and other people knowledgeable about risk management and financial stability. The descriptive approach is also quicker and more practical in terms of financing. Moreover, this method will allow for a flexible approach, thus, when important new issues, probabilities, and questions come up during the duration of the study, a further investigation and confirmation may be allowed. Lastly this type of approach will allow for decisions to drop unproductive areas of research from the original plan of the study. The choice and design of methods are constantly modified during data gathering based on continuing analysis. This will give way for creation of an investigation of important new issues, concerns, probabilities and questions as they arose. 

 

Research Strategy

For this research data will be gathered through collating published studies from different books, articles from different related journals and studies, and other literary instruments. Afterwards make a content analysis of the collected documentary and verbal material. The study will then summarize all the necessary information. The study will then make a conclusion and recommendations based on the said information.

 

Data Collection and Analysis

The study shall use survey using questionnaires and interviews to gather pertinent data. The study will gather data from different people who have ideas about how organizational culture affects strategic alignment in Saudi companies. Moreover, the study shall also use previous studies and compare it to its existing data in order to provide conclusions and competent recommendations.

 

Primary and Secondary data

The primary source of data will come from a survey using questionnaire and interviews conducted by the researcher. The primary data frequently gives the detailed definitions of terms and statistical units used in the survey. These are usually broken down into finer classifications. The primary source of data will give actual responses from people who encounter different kinds of things. This kind of data will give a further understanding of the situation. The secondary source of data will come from research through the internet; books, journals, magazines and other related studies and other sources of information. Acquiring secondary data are more convenient to use because they are already condensed, organized and can be found anywhere. Moreover, analysis and interpretation are done more easily.

Sampling

To determine the number of respondents that will be asked to participate and give information regarding the study random sampling will be used. As discussed beforehand the participants are different people working in the international hotel industry. As much as possible the respondents should at least have been serving in their company within a year so that accurate data can be achieved.


Data analysis

            Data gathered will be analyzed through frequency distributions. These will give way to reviewing the data categories and the number of referrals in each category. With relation to data analysis, the indicators that will be used in evaluating the study include the age of the respondent; the social status; the educational attainment of the respondents; the occupation of the respondents and their length of stay in the company they belong to.

Program of Work

Tasks:

Task1: The first thing done is completing the literature review. By the end of this task some of the objectives will be achieved.

Task 2:  The second thing done is preparing the questionnaires. At this task the design of questionnaires will be carried out according to different factors and any new adjustments might be due to the literature completion.

Task 3: The third thing done is distributing questionnaires. The researcher will carry out distribution of the questioners to the respondents.

Task 4: The fourth thing done is data collection. This task involves gathering data from respondents and converting it into numerical representation for analysis.

Task 5: The next thing done is data analysis; it involves performing statistical analysis into the gathered data in order to determine how organizational culture affects strategic alignment in Saudi companies. Finally conclusions and recommendations about how organizational culture affects strategic alignment in Saudi companies will be drawn. 

Task 6:  The last thing done is report writing. Writing the dissertation will start as an on-going process, which will help in the deadline meeting.     


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