Critique of Quantitative Methods
– Gaps and contributions;
– Aims of the research.
Theory (do a search on Google Scholar and Web of Knowledge)
– Evaluation of the theory;
– Previous use of theory;
– Use of the theory in this study.
3. Quantitative Methods and Analysis (The biggest section in the essay – at least 1000 words)
– Study design and sample;
– Measures – Independent, Dependent and Control Variables;
– Reliability and validity;
– Statistical techniques used to test the hypotheses;
– Statistical analysis and findings Ã¢â‚¬â€œ explain what key statistics mean. Are there any unusual findings?
Contributions and Gaps
This study offers a suitable platform on which Multinational Companies (MNCs) can develop suitable methods/mechanisms of capitalizing on local patterns of distinct practices, while spreading such practices across the international level. It also highlights the need for the MNCs to focus on enhancing their competitive positions by borrowing knowledge from various regions of the global operations, as opposed to embracing an ethnocentric attitude. The paper also contributes to the understanding of how the national context of subsidiary establishes variation within the ability of subsidiaries to initiate/elicit diffusion within MNCs via evaluation of bizarre, representative, set of cross-country data. However, the paper has only focused on nations such as Spain, UK, Ireland, and Canada that only allow MNCs a large degree of liberty in experimenting with novel practices. As such, nations that do not offer this opportunity are not taken into consideration. Therefore, the finding of this paper cannot be generalized to the practices of MNCs in other nations.
Aims of the Research
The primary objective of this paper is to explore the diffusion of Human resource practices from the foreign activities/operations of MNCs to the rest of the organization. The paper also aims at determining whether there will be no significant difference between Canadian and British operations as sources of reverse diffusion (RD). Researchers also focus on determining whether the British activities of MNCs will more commonly be the basis of reverse diffusion than subsidiaries within Ireland. Another aim of the paper is to investigate whether British activities of the MNCs will more commonly be the foundation of reverse diffusion than operations of MNCs in Spain. Determination of whether subsidiaries having trade linkages with other segments of the network have a higher likelihood of engaging in reverse diffusion is another aim of the researchers. Furthermore, the researchers aim at determining whether subsidiaries having highly skilled work forces are the ones having a higher probability of engaging in reverse diffusion.
Evaluation of the Theory
This study employs a positivist approach to accomplishing its goals. Positivists argue that the method of experiment used in sciences should serves as a framework for sociological research (Wester et al, 2013). Positivist theory is used to determine the cause effect relationship between variables in a study. It enables researchers to scrutinize every possible causal factor and examine its impacts, while at the same time excluding all other elements. This theoretical concept is also effective in uncovering and measuring patterns of behavior. Positivist approach is also effective in the discovering the laws/principle of cause & effect determining behavior.
Previous Use of Theory
Positivist approach has been employed in many past researchers. For instance, Ferner et al (2013) employed this approach in investigating the relationship between U.S multinationals and the regulation of subsidiary employment policies. Edwards et al (2010) used this approach to investigate the relationship between multinational companies and the diffusion of employment practices outside nations of origin.
Use of the Theory in this Study
In this study, the positivist approach has been used to formulate the research hypotheses. For instance, the researchers have used it to determine the cause & effect laws that govern the adoption of novel human resource practices from subsidiaries to the MNCs. This concept is also evident in the researchers’ development of the variables employed in the study.
Quantitative Methods and Analysis
The hypotheses developed by researchers in this study are easily testable. Govindaradjou & John (2014) assert that excellent research starts with the formulation of clear hypothesis/hypotheses that can be evaluated by the generation of novel data using state-of-arts techniques. The following hypotheses are tested in this study:
H1a: There will be no significant difference between British and Canadian operations as sources of reverse diffusion.
H1b: The British operations of MNCs will more commonly be the source of reverse diffusion than subsidiaries in Ireland.
H2a: Subsidiaries with trading linkages with other parts of the network are most likely to engage in reverse diffusion.
H2b: Subsidiaries with highly skilled workforces are those most likely to engage in reverse diffusion.
H1c: The British operations of MNCs will more commonly be the source of reverse diffusion than those in Spain.
Several issues, which indicate the effectiveness of researchers in formulating hypotheses, can be noted from the above hypotheses. First, these hypotheses are original and can yield a substantial interest among global MNCs when answered by researchers. Second, these hypotheses are unpredictable, and can be embraced or denounced based on the data collected from published literature. All these issues highlight the high level of expertise of researchers in formulating hypotheses.
Study Design and Sample
Quantitative research design has been employed in this study. This type of research design has ensured that the researchers test their hypothesis in an effective manner, as it is objective and reliable. Quantitative research design has also enabled the researchers to generalized their findings. This research design has also ensured that researchers restructure and limit the complex matters associated with the study (Elston et al, 2013). The sample selection is also appropriate. Randomization of sample has ensured that the global population is effectively represented in this study.
Wester et al (2013) define a variable as an attribute or characteristic of an organization or individual that can be observed or measured and that differs/varies among organizations or people being studied. A variable will characteristically vary within two or several groups. Govindaradjou & John (2014) point out that two characteristics that can be employed in distinguishing variables are their measurement (observation) and temporal order. In quantitative research, temporal order implies that the researcher thinks about variables in terms of an order from “left” to “right,” and orders the variables in research questions, visual models, and purpose statements into left-to-right, cause-and-effect demonstrations/presentations. As such, dependent variables are the outcomes of the influence/effect of the independent variables. They can also be known as outcome, criterion or effect variables. Independent variables influence, affect, or cause outcomes. They are also known as manipulated, treatment, predictor, or antecedent variables. Control variables are special or unique independent variables measured by the researcher because they potentially/significantly affect the dependent variables.
In this study, Edwards et al (2015) have focused on three types of variables mentioned above (i.e. dependent, independent, and control variables). The independent variables employed in this research were established from questions that inquired from respondents whether the subsidiary has offered any novel practice within the following fields that have been taken up elsewhere within the worldwide organization/company (code 0 = no and 1 = yes). In case the respondents replied ‘yes’, then were asked to specify whether the practice extend to a few parts/areas of the company, to key businesses or was absorbed globally. The study’s two dependent variables were based on the question about T&D (training and development) and worker consultation. The focus on these variables contributed significantly to the realization of contrast in two ways. First, they ensured that the significance of T&D in developing capabilities, especially potential to produce and absorb implicit knowledge has a likelihood of making this issue a strategic one than consultation within that higher management level have a higher possibility of being engaged in establishing policy. Second, the restraints of the host nation’s institutional setting are marked more concerning practices, signifying that they have a higher likelihood of facing more of significant institutional hindrances to diffusion. In this manner, the researchers managed to test their hypotheses in an effective manner. Independent variables in this study are countries such as Ireland, Spain, UK, and Canada.
The controls variables employed in this study are size and sector, which are used as standard variables in evaluating the HRM practice. The “sector” variable serves as a mock for the service sector (i.e. with other production and manufacturing as the category for reference). “Size” also acts as a dummy/replica, whereby 1 represents subsidiary of 1000 or more workers. Zero (0) is used to represent a subsidiary of between 100 and 999 employees. The next control variable capture the influence of US ownership (1 = US MNCs), considering that the US MNCs have been revealed to possess a central mode of activity that limits the possibility of subsidiary actors to incorporate RD. Another set of control variables employed in this study are associated with the nature of corporate structures and product, and takes into consideration replica variables for whether; there exists global functions of businesses; product is adjusted to national markets; and whether there exist an international committee for HR policy-making. These researchers also control for existence of a union within the national operations because union presence might influence the perceptions of senior management, particularly on the innovativeness of the subsidiary. Considering these controls, it can be argued that the researcher have undertaken a thorough approach to ensuring that the outcomes of the study are accurate. This undertaking ensures that researchers can account for the observations of the outcomes of the dependent variables in an effective manner.
Reliability and Validity
The principle underpinning reliability is that any significant outcome must exceed one-off finding and be integrally repeatable. Edwards et al (2015) have ensured that their study is reliable by offering a clear explanation of all the measures and conditions involved in the research. In this manners, other researcher willing to undertake the same study can manage to realize similar outcomes, particularly when they embrace these measures and conditions. According to Govindaradjou & John (2014), validity takes into consideration the whole concept of the experiment and establishes whether the outcomes obtained are in line with all the requirements of the logical research method. Researchers have adopted certain measures to ensure that their study matches needs of scientific research methods. For example, there is randomization of sample groups, as in the case of the selected.
Edwards et al (2015) have ensured that their findings can stand up against rigorous questioning by using duplicate samples (i.e. binary variable) and controls. This undertaking has contributed to the lamination of any other potential causal relationships that can be associated with the study, thereby making the findings of this study valid and reliable.
Statistical Techniques used to Test the Hypotheses
Regression analysis has been employed in testing the research’s hypotheses. According to Wester et al (2013), regression analysis is a statistical method employed in quantifying the association between variables. The researchers have effective used this technique to accomplish this goal. For example, this technique has provided an effective determination of the association between consultation practices and RD of T&D.
Statistical Analysis and Findings
Statistical evaluations have been executed in a thorough manner taking into consideration all the variables involved in the study. For example, considering the intensity of the effect of HR network, the researchers argued that possessing a range of forms of networking impacts positively and significantly on both models, thereby justifying hypothesis3.
This study has several theoretical contributions. First, it emphasizes the fact that there exist multiple factors at various that influence whether subsidiaries take part in the reverse diffusion of HR practices. This study also highlights the fact that actions of those initiating transfers are structured by several influences. Some of these influences include nature of the intra-firm interdependences within production, mechanisms of cross-border communication in firms, and key flows of cross-border economic activity. The study also reveals the significance of inter-connections between subsidiaries.
Practical Contributions and Implications for Managers
The research possesses presents several implications for managers. First, managers should focus on effective management of key flows of cross-border economic activities and mechanisms of cross-border communication to comprehend the social association between MNC headquarters and subsidiary. It also reveals the need for managers to recognize, transfer, and absorb tacit and confidential knowledge, as a mechanism of enhancing contract between parties performing similar responsibilities in different nations.
This research only focuses on nations that permit liberty in the experimentation of novel practices. Moreover, some of the methods employed in the development of variables are based on researcher’s interpretations and opinions, which cannot be embraced by other researchers willing to undertake the same study.
Since this study only focused on nations such Canada, Ireland, UK, and Spain that permit a substantial degree of freedom in experimenting with new/novel practices, its findings may be not be effectively applicable to nations that do not provide for such liberty. As such, I would make my research comprehensive by including countries that do not allow for the liberty in experimenting new practices.
Edwards, T., Sanches-Mangas, R., Belanger, J., & McDonnell, A. 2015. “Why Are Some Subsidiaries of Multinationals the Source of Novel Practices while Others Are Not? National, Corporate and Functional Influences.” British Journal of Management, vol. 26, pp. 146-162
Edwards, T., Edwards, P., Ferner, A., Marginson, P., Tregaskis, O. 2010 “U.S. Multinationals and the Control of Subsidiary Employment Policies.” Management International Review (MIR), vol. 5, pp. 613-634.
Elston, K., Suanders, V., Hayes, B & Bainbridge, R. 2013, “Building Indigenous Australian Research,” Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 46(1)
Ferner, A., Belanger, Jacques; Tregaskis, O., Morley, M., Michael, Q, J. 2013 “U.S. Multinationals and the Control of Subsidiary Employment Policies.” Industrial & Labor Relations Review, vol. 66, no. 3, pp. 645-669.