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    Assessment Type: Assignment (100% of the weighting for the module)


    • Task 1 (50%)      Research Design Proposal


    • Task 2 (50%) Literature/Evidence Review





    Indicative Assessment Requirements for the Module:


    Maximum Word Limit and wordage for each aspect within the assignment:


    The overall limit for the assignment is 4,000 words, with the Research Design Proposal limited to 2000 words and the Literature/Evidence Review also limited to 2000 words.


    A generic marking scheme and the assessment form are included later in this document.





    Description of Assessment Requirements


    You are required to create a proposal for a research project aimed at solving a business related problem or opportunity. This will necessarily include both a research design and a literature review and evidence review, fully referenced, on your research proposal.

    The work is to be handed in as ONE entity via Turnitin.










    Guidelines for undertaking the Assignment


    The assignment consists of ONE piece of coursework made up of two tasks.

    Task 1    The Research Design Proposal (50%)

    The research proposal must include a background which describes the basic situation underlying your project.

    It must include a statement of the problem or opportunity that is the aim of your project. It must describe the rationale for your project, why you wish to carry out this research and the benefits that will accrue from its successful conclusion.

    You must create research objectives that, when you successfully complete them, will have the information that enables you to solve the problem or capitalise on the opportunity that is the aim of your research.

    You must evaluate and fully describe the research methods that will be necessary to successfully complete the research. Data collection methods must be selected and described which are consistent with the research philosophy necessary for its completion: these will include secondary and primary data sources. The methods by which the data you collect will be analyzed need to be justified.

    Finally, ethical, validity and reliability issues relevant to the research must be discussed and a time plan for its completion must be calculated and displayed as a Gantt chart (or another suitable format).


    Task 2    The Literature/Evidence Review (50%)

    The research proposal must also include a Literature/Evidence review which evaluates the context for your research and sources academic research and models that are relevant to the project. It should include a critical evaluation of relevant theoretical and practical references and include breadth of understanding and depth of critical evaluation.  Reviews will require analysis and evaluation of evidence and sources and be informed by theory and appropriate practice.





    • A Case Study, Business Development Plan or Dissertation topics can be used if desired but it is not mandatory
    • Discussion and debate on the above mentioned topics should be seen.
    • There must be sufficient linkage between theory and practice.
    • Harvard style of referencing should be used







    Guidance to the contents and recommended structure of the Proposal is shown below:

    (Note that Ref: applies to the Assessment Form included in this document.)



    Part 1:  Introduction and Background (400 words)   Ref: Assessment Form Task 1, Section1


    Is the overall context for the research well established?

    Is the research topic interesting from an academic and practical perspective?

    Is there a statement of the problem?

    Is there a rationale for the topic?

    Is it clear what aspects of the chosen topic will be researched?

    Do the boundaries of the research make sense?

    Is there a clear statement of the aim of the research?

    Are research objectives included and are they specific?

    Are the research questions well-conceived?

    Are the research objectives matched to the research questions?



    Part 2:  Literature Review (2000 words)   Ref: Assessment Form Task 2


    Section 1 The LR Introduction (200 words) Ref: Assessment Form Task 2, Section 1

    Is the domain explained?

    Is there an identification of the main sources to be used?

    Is there a pointer to the upcoming structure?


    Section 2 The Main Body of the LR (1550 words)   Ref: Assessment Form Task 2, Section 2

    Is there a clear structure?

    Does the review have a logical progression?

    Does the review convey the critical thinking of the writer?

    Is there good use of secondary sources, citation, references, synthesis, critique, chronology, seminal works, models?

    Is the current position conveyed?


    Section 3 Conclusion (250 words)   Ref: Assessment Form Task 2, Section 3

    Is there a clear concluding statement?

    Is there a clear implication for further research?

    Are research questions specified?

    Are there emergent themes?

    Is a conceptual framework established?

    Has the research gap been confirmed?



    Part 3:  Research Methodology (1100 words)   Ref: Assessment Form, Task 1, Section 2


    Is there a logical and cohesive structure to the proposal?

    Is the underlying philosophical approach adequately explained?

    Are the proposed research methods appropriate to the research task?

    Have the data types been defined and classified?

    Have target populations and samples been defined and justified?



    Part 4:  Data Analysis (500 words)   Ref: Assessment Form, Task 1, Section 3


    Is the proposal for analysis linked back to the literature and the research questions?

    Have analysis methods been specified?

    Are ethical issues considered?

    Are validity and reliability issues discussed?

    Is there an adequate time plan for the research?

    Have academic protocols for referencing been met?


    Note that the suggested number of words should only be an approximate guide. The quality of the work, not the quantity is the factor which needs to guide the writing of the proposal.



    Learning Outcomes:


    Upon successful completion of this module students will be able to:


    • Formulate research questions and describe and critically evaluate differing research methods, including the formation of hypotheses, or other research models, or paradigms and justify the selection and use of specific research methodologies;
    • Integrate and plan key research activities and schedules including the setting of timetables and research objectives, and the acceptance of accountability for all aspects of the conduct of a research project
    • Understand the importance of, and be able to effectively demonstrate skills in, the conventions which are required for the carrying out of a major research project including the design of experimental and non-experimental research projects; the preparation of an integrated research proposal and effectively manage the design and delivery of this.
    • Comprehend and critically evaluate the differentiation between qualitative and quantitative methods as they are used in research design and evaluate the appropriateness of their application, use, and value in differing aspects of business functions and requirements.
    • Critically appraise the importance of, and the definitions and nature of, primary and secondary data, and be able to plan for (a) the selection, collection, or creation of data for interpretation and data analysis; and (b) critically analyse, interpret and manipulate data, and (c) synthesis results and interpretation of data and form conclusions.
    • Assimilate and review an appropriate range of literature sources and other appropriate sources/evidential materials.
    • Identify the underlying principles of various analytical methods commonly applied in business and management research;
    • Select appropriate analytical techniques according to the nature of the research;
    • Compute descriptive and inferential statistics using SPSS;
    • Be able to communicate effectively in, numeric, verbal and literary form to a variety of audiences using appropriate business language, terminology, and concepts including Construct questionnaires, evaluate their reliability, and analyse and evaluate the data produced (quantitative/qualitative or other)



Subject Research Methodology Pages 3 Style APA


1.    Introduction

1.1 Background Information

Since its launch of the sustainable environmental blueprint in 2005, Wal-Mart Stores conducted a variety of campaigns aimed at publicizing its strategies and hence making the business organization a global leader in the realm of corporate environmental responsibility (Rowe, 2011, p.3). This has been evident from the variety of media briefings and press conferences every year and which center on global responsibility reporting. In his address, the CEO of the company avers that the organization has made steps in the areas of renewable energy, agricultural sustainability to enhance its supplies, the reduction of waste production and disposal, as well as the improvement of its products. Although this strategy has done great to redeem and improve the organization’s public image, it is the view of Rowe (2011, p.4) that it has had an insignificant effect on the environment. On the contrary, Wal-Mart stores environmental impact has only experience substantial growth in the last seven years as the business practices deployed are highly polluting, while the expansion to other markets has been achieved at the expense of sustainable production, waste disposal and reduction (Plambeck, and Denend, 2008, p.53). As a result, there is a need for the deployment of an integrated approach to environmental sustainability that puts all the stakeholders on board. This includes the experts, the organization stakeholders, the customers and the local communities in decision making on the best methods of maintaining the environment for the sake of the future endeavors (Barberá, 2014, p.3).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

There has been an increased emission of carbon gasses by multinational companies that have led to the warming of the ozone layer, which has subsequently led to climate change. Although businesses like Wal-Mart stores have tried to reduce the effects of their production and distribution effects on the environment, they have made insignificant steps. As such, the rate at which the environment is being polluted is increasing at an alarming rate threatening the future generation.

1.3 Rationale for the Study

This study is justified on the basis that it seeks to provide a solution on how business organizations and particularly, Wal-Mart stores can have an all-inclusive method for environmental sustainability. As such, it provides a permanent settlement of the disturbing issues of environmental pollution and hence makes it sustainable for the sake of the future interests as well as future generations.

1.4 Research Objectives

The proposed study will aim to achieve the following;

  1. To establish how Wal-Mart stores can deploy integrative approaches to ensure environmental sustainability.
  2. To discuss the major faults that Wal-Mart stores have had on its quest for environmental sustainability.

iii.    To investigate the role that different stakeholders have in the maintenance of a sustainable environment.

  1. To show how an integrative approach provides a permanent solution to environmental problems.

1.5 Research Questions

  1. How can Wal-Mart stores deploy an integrative approach to ensure its environmental sustainability?
  2. What faults has Wal-Mart stores had on its quest for a suitable environment since 2005?

iii.    What roles can different stakeholders in Wal-Mart stores play to ensure that the environment is sustainable?

  1. How does an integrative approach provide a permanent solution to environmental problems?

1.6 Research Hypothesis

In conducting this study, the following will be the presumptions made;

  1. The reason as to why business organizations have failed to maintain a sustainable environment is because they have excluded some of their stakeholders in the formulation of environmental maintenance policies.
  2. It will be the presumption of this study that business organizations with small profits are at a disadvantage since they can channel hugely in the maintenance of a sustainable environment.

iii.    A sustainable environment is critical for the future sustainability of business organizations since it ensures that the future of the companies is guaranteed.

  1. The collective formulation of maintenance mechanisms ad sharing of costs is beneficial to the sustainability strategies implementation.
  2. Environmental sustainability is related to business success.



2.    Literature Review

2.1 The LR Introduction

A variety of literature discusses environmental sustainability since it has become a threat to the success of the business organization as well as its future profitability. Many authors have almost had a synonymous definition of sustainability as the process of using the resources of the day while keeping in mind the plight of the future. However, others have been specific on the concept of environmental sustainability. In this regard, they have defined environmental sustainability as the use of the environment in a manner that considers the processes and practices of the business including the people, the earth as a planet and the profitability of the business (Hawken, Lovins, and Lovins, 2013, p.4). This review of literature will major on how individual business organization can utilize an integrative approach encompassing all stakeholders to provide a lasting solution of the effects of environmental pollution and degradation. As such, scholarly articles will be drawn from various sources to show how integrative approach is most suited for Wal-Mart stores and the benefits that accrue out of its usage. Finally, a conclusion will be made based on the scholarly writings analyzed. The review will start from the applications of various environmental sustainability methods in other industries. However, it will narrow down to business organizations and finally to Wal-Mart stores.

2.2 The Main Body of the LR

There is a concern among different scholars that all stakeholders have not clearly understood the constituents of environmental sustainability, and this has pegged back any efforts to have a sustainable environment for continued business success.  Specifically, Morelli, (2013, p.2) acknowledges the need for sustainability if business organizations are to enjoy continued business success without compromising ion the rights of other ecological components. However, in the view of Delmas and Montiel (2009, p.172), there is the lack of proper understanding of the basic concepts of environmental sustainability. In this regard, there is a need for expansion in the way that people think about the idea.  In his view, it requires integrated efforts of all stakeholders on the essential ideas instead of different mechanisms, which are counterproductive. This was the same position taken by Károly (2013, p.1). However, Meeks and Chen (2011, p.5) agrees that the effects of a non-sustainable environmental cut across all populations and generations. Károly (2013, p.1), therefore, proposes that an integrated approach involving experts, business organizations and the communities be used to save companies from being unsustainable in the future.

Several authors have exposed the deficiencies that have been in existence and dismissed idle talk as just PR technique that are beneficial to the image of business organizations but which do not have any real positive impact on the environment. Starik, & Kanashiro (2013, p.3) opines that of theories of environmental sustainability should b centered among individuals, organizations, and societies around the world. However, the authors idea that the conceptual approaches to the viability issue have been deficient, as they have failed to provide any unique features, improved profits and opportunity that can assist the organization to use the resources of today without compromising the future. This was the same contention made by Zollo, Cennamo, and Neumann (2013, p.242). Specifically, the authors propose a shift from the sustainable debate that is geared towards motivational and definitional questions to the understanding of change. Instead, they propose that business organizations should concentrate on undertaking the changes that can ensure that they are sustainable and that the real actions to maintain sustainability are clearly articulated. Aragon-Correa (2013, p.3) is for a real progress that incorporates all stakeholders that are likely to lead to environmental pollution and those who will fall victims of the effects of the pollution. The author dismisses idle talk that which has been happening for quite some time.

Integrated approaches to the problems of sustainability as well as the solutions can be a great turning point in the fight on the effects of a polluted environment as well as the redemption of the images of organizations. However, Hawken et al. (2013) opine that despite the importance of interrelated approaches, companies have devised policies that are only dependent on themselves and not involving all the stakeholders. Specifically, the reason why companies have found it hard to maintain a sustainable business environment is their failure to understand the collective nature of the tasks ahead. On the contrary, Fiksel (2007, p.5) states that they have individualized the problem despite calls from international organizations for the collective efforts of the society to maintain the cleanliness of the environment. Dumping sites have increased at an alarming rate while landfills have almost filled the idle lands existing close to the business ventures. Proposals have been, made for companies to deploy an inclusive and integrated approach to the solutions of sustainability. However, according to Dao, Langella, and Carbo (2011, p.63) failure to heed the call has led to losses of the companies as well as contributed to the emission of greenhouse gasses from their factories and stores. Indeed, the problem of environmental sustainability does not affect individual business organization but affects the business industry at large.

Dao, Langella, and Carbo (2011, p.63) propose that the top companies should come together and formulate a set of policies that will be collectively implemented to save the environment from the increasing number of pollutants emanating from the industries. Pelenc (2013, p.78) opines that there are three issues responsible for the current state of lack of sustainability. First is the weakness that can be found in the ecological dimension of the capability frameworks in place. In this regard, the structures in place are either ineffective of extremely inappropriate. The second issue is that of responsibility where measures are only taken when the consequences of the unsuitability are experienced. This consequentialist viewpoint has led to the relaxation of major companies even when they are aware of the effects of their actions on the environment. The last issue that Pelenc et al. (2013, p.77) talk about is the relationship that exists between individual and collective levels. Specifically, every single company wants to devise measures that are only suitable to them without thinking on how the whole business industry will benefit from their strategies. As such, it is important that an integrative approach is enacted that incorporates all societal members.

Away from other businesses, Wal-Mart stores have had a blueprint on environmental sustainability that was prepared in 2005. However, according to Nguyen and Slater (2010), this has not eased their responsibilities on the maintenance of a sustainable environment for the sake of their business success. On record, Wal-Mart can be seen to have reduced the rate at which its premises and products were polluting the environment. However, o the ground still little has been as it only did formulate the strategies alone. Specifically, the emissions of greenhouse h\gases have reduced due to the implementation of the 2005 blueprint. Even so, some of its constituent retail stores in some countries have still not reached the level of the US stores. This shows the relationship between sustainability and the levels of profits. According to Dauvergne and Lister (2012, p.37), companies do not want to spend more on environmental sustainability just because it is a global threat to the existence of their businesses. They must be making profits so that they can have the necessary financial resources that can be able to make use of the sustainable sources of energy for the sole purpose of reducing the rate of carbon emissions.

Contents that the employ a collective approach will in most cases ensure that the resources are pooled together for the success of the initiatives. However, individual companies find it very hard to do it alone. According to Spaargaren and van Koppen (2009, p.5), the businesses that make huge profits pull others back that make huge chunks of money every single year. Therefore, pulling their resources together with a common aim ensures that the less profitable companies can still be directly involved in the push for a sustainable environment. Due to competition with other business organizations, it is difficult for Wal-Mart stores to engage them with an aim of brokering a deal that would see competitors fight this menace in one accord. This has caused the major problems that come with the implementation of the set policies. Each of the business organizations uses their own policies that in their own understanding think will make them have a good image to the public. Nevertheless, as long as the approaches deployed are personal, those without the financial power to invest on sustainable environment initiatives will continue to hold back efforts applied by others with significant financial resources (Crane and Matten, 2007, p2).

2.3 Conclusion

From the review of the literature, there exists insufficient information on how different authors have shown the use of an integrative approach that incorporates all the stakeholders on business organizational and most specifically Wal-Mart stores in the maintenance of a sustainable environment. Most of the scholarly articles reviewed have shown that the use of the method can be beneficial. However, they have admitted that business organizations prefer to deploy means and strategies that are only intended to benefit them. Specifically, although Wal-Mart stores have on several occasions since the sustainable environment blueprint in 2005, posted positive reductions in the level of its carbon emissions, this has only been true on paper. As such, the environment continues to suffer, the future of business organizations remains in limbo as the environment continues to be degraded. However, from the articles that have been studied, it is clear that putting all stakeholders on board would bring out a collective way of saving the environment from the dangers of pollution and degradation.

In future researchers will need to state precisely the benefits that accrue from the collective responsibility of all the business organizations as well as the nearby community. Additionally, it will be in the interests of future resources to dig deep into why there are inconsistencies on the way the individual business organizations report on how they have been able to curb activities that pollute the environment and the actual circumstances on the ground. These inconsistencies will help in determining the nest ways of telling the truth so that the environment can be saved from the unscrupulous acts of business organizations. Currently, according to (Peters, 2010, p.4), business organizations are using energy resources that are environmentally friendly; however, the issue of costs has come into play. Specifically, the use of renewable source of energy in the operation of business organizations comes at a great cost. Therefore, small businesses are unable to match the big ones when it comes to the use of renewable energy. However, coming together and discussing on how they can raise resources and manage the environment together will eventually lead to a sustainable environment. Concisely, sustainability should be construed as a collective responsibility of all in the c\society.







3.    Research Methodology

In the quest to give answers to the research questions highlighted in this study as well as attain the objectives of the research, a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative approach will be applied. In this regard, various pieces of literature will be analyzed with an aim of establishing how an integrative approach incorporating every stakeholder of Wal-Mart stores can be applied to have a sustainable environment for the sake of future business success. The choice of a mixed method of data collection comes about as the research aims to establish how Wal-Mart stores can deploy integrative approaches to ensure environmental sustainability. Conversely, a qualitative method will be applied to determine how professional view the integrated approach when used as the method of maintaining a sustainable environment. Therefore, through various reviews of literature, the objectives of the research will be achieved.

3.1 Research Design: Research Tools

In the qualitative data collection, the research will aim to obtain relevant information and that which will be able to support sufficiently or disapprove the research hypothesis. In this regard, data will be collected from the library via studies. Specifically, a desk study will be used an s the research tool. Additionally, the internet will be applied in the research of the core issues that are raised in this research paper. This will be through the Wal-Mart websites, the various environmental organizations such as the United Nations environmental program websites (UNEP) moreover; different blueprints on environmental sustainability will be carefully examined to obtain relevant information to this research area. Secondary data will play a very critical role in supplementing the primary data.

Concerning the quantitative method, interviews will be conducted on experts on environmental matters. Specifically, environmental laws practitioners, as well as conservation organizations and successful businesspersons, will be interviewed on what they think of the application of a collective method of saving the environment for the sake of the success of the businesses in the future. Primary data will be obtained from the interview that will have a set of questions that will be asked to each expert. The interviewees will be 10 in number taken from diverse fields and who have the necessary competencies on environmental sustainability. The interview will, inter alia, be based on the following questions;

  1. How can Wal-Mart stores deploy an integrative approach to ensure its environmental sustainability?
  2. What are the benefits of using an integrative approach over other individual methods employed in the maintenance of environmental sustainability?

iii.    How is the maintenance of a sustainable environment linked with business success?

  1. What faults has Wal-Mart stores had in its quest for a suitable environment since 2005?
  2. What roles can different stakeholders in Wal-Mart stores play to ensure that the environment is sustainable?
  3. How does an integrative approach provide a permanent solution to environmental problems?

vii.    What measures can Wal-Mart stores take to ensures that it persuades all the stakeholders’ o get involved in the use of clean energies, proper dumping and generally, the use of renewable resources?

3.2 Research Sample

A sample that will be interviewed will be selected from a list of professionals on environmental conservation and who have had a great impact on policymaking and implementation on a sustainable environment. Instead of interviewing all environmental experts, 10 out of the many that could be interviewed will be conducted. This is a sufficient sample given that the information obtained can be generalized to a number of professionals. Additionally, the sample will be diversely selected so that the responses provided in the interview will provide diverse information on how beneficial an integrative approach is in the suitability of environment.

3.3 Research Procedure

The process to conduct the research will involve several steps. In this regard, the first one would require the evaluation of the relevant literature and how it views the application of an integrated approach to the maintenance of a favorable business environment. The pertinent information obtained will be critiqued based on the relevance and depth of the information. In the second step, a quantitative method of collecting data will be commenced. In this case, primary data will be obtained through the interview of professions on environmental conservations and sustainable issues. Before they are interviewed, they will be requested for their consent. Those who cannot be interviewed face-to-face will be offered that opportunity via an online platform. After the interview, data will be analyzed. This primary data would be synthesized with the secondary data obtained and a viable conclusion made on how the data related to the research hypothesis.

3.4 Data Analysis

After the data is collected from the various primary and secondary sources, it will be analyzed with an aim of making any inferences from the data. In this regard, various methods of analyzing qualitative and quantitative data will be applied. Descriptive analysis will be used with an aim of establishing any central tendency and deviation. Specifically, from the data obtained all the various variables will be identified and examined. Afterward, the dominant ones will be used as the measure of how the others deviated from the variables. As such, the deviation method will also be applied. A sensitivity analysis will be conducted to ensure that the data obtained is irrelevant to the research aims and goals. A descriptive approach will be enforced s the frequency of how an integrative approach will be approved will be the principal objective of the study. Apart from the descriptive approach, a correlation will be made between the maintenance of a sustainable environment and the rate of business successes. Additionally, the relationship between the blueprint set out by the Wal-Mart stores in 20065 and the actual environmental status will be made.

3.5 Ethical issues

In the analysis of the data obtained, some ethical issues will be analyzed. First, the nature of the data will tell where the selection of the participants was fair and equitable. One of the ethical problems that are likely to arise is the issue of conflict of interest. In this regard, there are professionals who are proponents of particular approaches to the maintenance of a sustainable business environment. As such, they will have a conflict of interest in trying to evaluate the benefits of an integrated approach and their preferred methods. Secondly, the issue of subjectivity is another ethical issue. In this regard, some of the interviewees might give subjective answers that do not give objective views on the subject matter. This issue is likely to lead to an absurd conclusion. Therefore, the ethical issue will be noted. Thirdly, the issue of language barrier will be considered. In this case, the interviewee might want to express a particular point, but the language might be the difficulty. In this case, if the interviewees do not consent to the display of their names in the research, pseudonyms will be applied that will be meant to conceal their identifications.

3.6 Validity and Reliability

The reliability of the data will be based on how the results are statistically significant. It will be examined whether performing the same experiment again will still generate the same results. The fact that human judgment can vary between different people will also be considered in the analysis of the data. On reliability, the randomization of the samples will be kept in mind. Additionally, on external validity, any possible causal relationship between the various data obtained will be evaluated so that the data can be termed as valid.

3.7 Timelines

This research will be conducted over a period of 4 months.  The following schedule depicts how the various tasks will be handled in the three months that the study will be undertaken.




Introduction and Background Information

2 week

The general information that is related to the research topic will be discussed.

Theoretical/Conceptual Framework


A theory/concept that relates to this research domain will be established and applied.

Literature Review


Various scholarly articles related to this research area will be analyzed.

Research Methodology


Various interviews will be conducted and their results compiled.

Data Analysis


The data collected above will be analyzed based on various analytical techniques

Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations


Finally, conclusions will be made, and recommendations proposed.




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Peters, N., 2010. Inter-organisational design of voluntary sustainability initiatives. Springer Fachmedien.

Plambeck, E.L. and Denend, L., 2008. Wal-Mart. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 6(2), pp.53-59.

Rowe, J., 2011. The Greening of Wal-Mart. American Prospect, 12.

Spaargaren, G. and van Koppen, C.K., 2009. Provider strategies and the greening of consumption practices: exploring the role of companies in sustainable consumption. In The new middle classes (pp. 81-100). Springer Netherlands.

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