Examine the role of optimism in organisational behaviour within HRM

Essay add: 28-10-2015, 20:55   /   Views: 197

This section describes the methods and processes to be used in the study such as the research design, participant selection, instrumentation, data collection, and data analysis. Methodology refers to a study's plan of action and has the researcher select specific techniques or methods to be used in order to accomplish the study's outcomes (Creswell 2009).

Research Purpose

The purpose of this research is to examine the role of optimism in creating positive organisational behaviour in modern HRM. This dissertation will critically explore the HRM methods used in a private sector company (ALJ) in order to determine to what extent positive organisational behavioural methods are used in managing psychological capital and how this can influence organisational success. It will also critically review which approaches of leadership and management could improve employee engagement. In addition, it will examine the impact of the psychological contract on the enhancement of job satisfaction. This study will answer the research questions, to wit:

What are the advantages of applying positive organisational behavioural practices in ALJ?

What possible recommendations are there for leaders and managers as to how best to create a positive climate which will enhance employee productivity and engagement?

What are the benefits of the psychological contract in improving job satisfaction and ultimately high performance?

Research Design

Based on the research purposes and the research questions, this study will use the qualitative research design in order to examine how positive the organisational behaviour approach impacts the performance of a private sector company. Qualitative research assumes that the truth will emerge only when the researcher gains an understanding of the beliefs, actions, experiences, and beliefs of others using the participant's point of view (Creswell 2009). This means that the study will use an interpretive paradigm to construct reality through the subjective experiences of individuals. Qualitative research describes and interprets the meanings of phenomena under consideration as they unfold in the "natural setting" (Trochim 2008). The qualitative research approach allows for the descriptive account of the nature of the setting, occurrence and people.

Case study methodology

More specifically, this study will apply the case study methodology in examining how positive organisational behaviour contributes to the outcomes of a private sector company. Yin (2009) explained the case study "as an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident" (p. 13). Merriam (2009) defined a qualitative case study research to be "an in-depth description and analysis of a bounded system" (p. 40). In this study I want to make an in-depth analysis of the positive organisational behaviour approach as it is applied and experienced in the real-life setting of a private sector firm. This goal will be best accomplished using the case study methodology.

More specifically, a single-case study research is proposed to achieve the research purposes of this study. The single-case study is ''as an intensive study of a single case where the case consists of the individuals, groups, and social structure in the setting of an organisation'' (Lee as cited in Haas 2007, p. 74). The single-case type is the fundamental form of case research which involves the intensive and detailed analysis of a single case (Bryman and Bell 2006). Haas (2007) views a case study to focus on why and how things happen, allowing the inquiry of contextual realities.

Single cases are appropriate when a particular case is critical and we want to use it to explain or question an established theory (Patton 2002; Yin 2009). It is a critical case because it meets all the conditions necessary to confirm, challenge or extend the theory. For instance, in this study, we want to study the application of positive organisational behaviour approach in a single private sector company that has already used the positive psychological capital model in its operations.

The study's unit of analysis will be the Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) group, one of Saudi Arabia's largest companies and the whole sole distributor of Toyota Motor Corporation. The company is considered a 'critical' case for this dissertation since its operations impact upon the national economy of the KSA.

Participant Selection

The sample for this study will consist of five (5) managers of the ALJ group who possess the following criteria: (1) worked for ALJ for the last five years; (2) occupying a senior-leadership position in the company's HRM department. The sampling method used will be purposive, expert sampling in the selection of the key informants. Expert sampling gathers together persons having demonstrable expertise and experience in a particular area, in this case, positive organisational behaviour. Expert sampling is the best selection method to elicit the insight and views of people who have expert knowledge in the research topic (Trochim 2008).

Another sample will consist of employees in the ALJ group working in the HRM Department. They will be asked to accomplish questionnaire surveys to determine the extent of the application and the impact of the positive organisational behaviour approach to them as employees of the company. Simple random sampling will be used to choose respondents.


Case study research emphasises triangulation of multiple sources of evidence (Yin 2009). For this study on positive organisational behaviour in a private sector firm, three different sources will be used. The primary instrument used will be the semi-structured interview. This will be triangulated with questionnaires and secondary data sources.

Semi-structured interview. The primary instrument for this dissertation will be a semi-structured interview protocol. Its semi-structured form will allow freedom to ask basic introductory questions and subsequently, a consistent investigation of topics related to the application of the positive organisational behaviour approach within the firm. The semi-structured nature of the interview guide grants some flexibility so that the researcher can engage in casual or natural conversation with the participant and gain more insight about them, their thoughts and their experiences in relation to the policy. The highly-structured interview is too rigid and is prone to end up with getting reactions based on the investigator's preconceived ideas and worldview (Merriam 2009). The interviews will be tape-recorded to secure an accurate account of the conversations and in order to prevent data loss since it will be difficult to write everything down as the interview goes on. Every cassette tape will be numbered and labelled accordingly with the interviewee's name to ensure that everything is organised and accounted for.

Questionnaires. Questionnaires will be used in order to gather perceptions among employees of the impact of the implementation of positive psychological capital model in the company. The questionnaires will generate a more comprehensive understanding of the impact, whether positive or negative, that the organisational behaviour approach has had on the employees of the firm.

Secondary data sources. Secondary data will be in the form of peer-reviewed journals, articles, and studies that will be useful in interpreting and explaining the outcomes of the interviews and questionnaires. Secondary data can also help the researcher in drafting more relevant and to-the-point questions for the interviews and the questionnaires.

Data Collection Procedure

Before data collection or any communicate could be made to the participants, the study has to be approved first by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the university. After that is obtained, the researcher can begin collecting data by first securing access to the participants. Letters of communication and letters of explanation will be sent to concerned persons in the company to secure the permission to conduct the study and cooperate with its employees. The letters will explain the purpose of the study, the methods that will be used and explain the ethical assurances that the study adheres to. To establish rapport and facilitate access, visits to be company will be scheduled.

This study will use audio-tape recorded interviews as the primary data gathering method. With the use of a semi-structured interview guide, managers of the company will be asked open-ended questions regarding their views on succession, its importance, criteria for succession, communication among family members, problems encountered regarding succession, and their visions for the survival and success of the family firm. The interviewees will be conducted in person and scheduled to suit the availability and convenience of interviewees. A set of core questions will be asked among all interviewees and additional questions may be asked by the research in order to generate more insight from them. Interviews will be conducted at a comfortable and pre-arranged location with the consent of the participant. At the beginning of each interview, the researcher will review the consent form and ensure that he or she understands its contents and implications. It will also be made clear that should the participant wish to withdraw from the interview, he or she may do so.

The questionnaires will be handed out to employees of the firm who are directly affected by the implementation of the positive organisational behaviour policies. Questionnaires will be self-administered and given to employees at their most convenient time. After accomplishing the questionnaires, the researcher will collect them and store them in a safe place to await data analysis.

Data Analysis

A qualitative case study research will generate a large volume of raw data so organising and analyzing data must be timely and systematic (Denzin and Lincoln, 2005; Merriam 2009; Yin 2009). It is suggested that data analysis must be conducted simultaneously with data collection. Hence, as the researcher finishes the interviews, the data has to be processed and analysed at the same time. It is anticipated that a single interview will take around an hour to complete and the transcription process will take around two days per interview. The time-consuming nature of data collection/analysis for this study is expected and accepted to ensure high quality. In addition to timeliness, the mode of organisation of the data should also be considered for particular data analysis. To ensure that no data will be lost or misplaced, transcribed interviews, handwritten notes, summaries or excerpts from secondary data sources will be organised in a research journal.

The data gathered from the interviews and questionnaires will be analysed using (a) content analysis for the interviews and; (b) descriptive statistics for questionnaires.

Content analysis. Transcribed data from the interviews will be analyzed through qualitative content analysis. Qualitative content analysis is a widely-used approach to analyzing qualitative data which is characterised by searching for underlying themes in texts or documents being analyzed (Patton 2002). Another definition of content analysis is that it is "a research method for the subjective interpretation of the content of text data through the systematic classification process of coding and identifying themes or patterns" (Hsieh and Shannon 2005, p.1278).

More specifically, because this study operates and intends to interpret data using several theories on organisational behaviour, it will use directed content analysis. Directed content analysis is guided with a theory and during the data analysis phase, the researcher immerses in the data and allows themes to emerge (Hsieh and Shannon 2005). Content analysis is one of the most popular "coding operations" in social investigation (Patton 2002). Coding is a technique that organises and themes data by segregating segments within it using a label known as a "code." After coding is complete, the codes are summarised according to prevalence and analyzed for similarities, differences, and relationships between one or more codes (Bryman 2004). Software nVivo which is a qualitative research tool will be used in coding themes embedded in transcripts. When the coding process is finished, a preliminary meaning or conceptual explanation will have been generated from the data.

Descriptive statistics. The questionnaires will be analyzed and interpreted using descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentage, and average.

Ethical Assurances

Approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) will be obtained as a manifestation of commitment to adhere to basic ethical principles of business research. Confidentiality and privacy issues will also be resolved by obtaining prior informed consent from the participants before they are interviewed, for the interviews to be audiotape, and before they participate in completing the questionnaires. Several steps will be taken to guarantee confidentiality and privacy. There will be no names or identifying information that will be allowed to surface in the transcripts of the interviews. In place of real names, pseudonyms or codes will be used. Recorded audiotapes will be stored by the researchers. The chain of evidence will be erased after this dissertation is published. Further, researchers will inform the participants that they may terminate their involvement in the study any moment they wish.


This proposed qualitative single-case study research intends to investigate the impact of implementing positive organisational behaviour approach in human resource management in a private sector company. In order to do this, the experiences and views of managers who are responsible in implementing the managerial approach will be gathered and interpreted. Moreover, the perceptions and views of employees who are directly feel the impact of such an approach will also be considered. The study will undertake interviews, questionnaires, and gathering secondary data sources to accomplish these purposes. The operational details and data collection procedures were presented and justified in this section. The guidelines for establishing the study's integrity and reliability were also presented. The researcher believes that the methodology presented will accomplish the research purpose of uncovering the impact of the positive organisational behaviour approach as a policy directed at organisational success.

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