Journal Article by Lin and Hsieh Critique

Introduction, Purpose and Significance of the Study

The study conducted by Lin and Hsieh (2010) is titled “International strategy implementation: Roles of subsidiaries, operational capabilities, and procedural justice”. The main purpose of the study is to “propose a framework to propose how the segregation of operational capabilities and procedural justice fits to different subsidiary roles, and the relationship between the fit and the subsidiary performance,” (Lin & Hsieh, 2010, p. 52). The article begins by an introduction section which provides background information about the topic under investigation. In this section, the researchers review several prior studies which have been conducted on the same topic. It is important to note that although this study is a recent one, the literatures reviewed were conducted between 1972 and 1995. The literatures reviewed are thus relatively old. The shortcoming involved in reviewing old studies is that the study fails to capture what has been covered and discovered presently.

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The study by Lin and Hsieh (2010) would thus have been more credible if newer and more current literatures conducted on the topic were reviewed. Nevertheless, from the review of the literature, the researchers were able to identify literature gaps which they seek to narrow. Specifically, Lin and Hsieh (2010) found that majority of prior studies could provide an explanation on the effective implementation of international strategy but unfortunately these studies were limited to “individual strategy types, macro-organizational structures or to procedural justice” (Lin & Hsieh, 2010, p. 52). It is based on this limitation that the researchers conducted their study. Thus, the study by Lin and Hsieh (2010) makes significant contribution to the business literature by focusing on what other researchers have not studied.

Hypotheses of the Study

The study by Lin and Hsieh (2010) aims at testing four hypotheses. It is important to note that the statement of the hypotheses has been done in conjunction with the theoretical background of the study. Specifically, the researchers seek to explain the theoretical content surrounding the major variables used in the study. Each of the three hypotheses is stated after a discussion of the relevant theoretical background. This helps readers to understand the logic behind the statement of the hypotheses as well as the importance of testing the hypotheses. On the negative side, the hypotheses have been stated in a complicating fashion. Rather than just stating each hypothesis as a simple sentence, each hypothesis is a long complex sentence with words that may prove to be difficult to understand for a layman. The study can therefore be enhanced by rewording the hypotheses to make them simpler statements and easier for readers to understand.

Method

Study design

There are many research designs that are used when conducting a study. A research design dictates the data collection methods that researchers will use. In this study, Lin and Hsieh (2010) fail to indicate which research design is used in the study. Readers are therefore left to make out the study design for themselves.

Study setting and sample

The location of the study by Lin and Hsieh (2010) is Taiwan. The sample used in this study consists of corporations located in Taiwan. Non-probabilistic sampling technique – purposive sampling technique – was used to select the sample of corporations to be included in this study. Specifically, the researchers used selected their sample from a list of the largest corporations in Taiwan by sales volume which was published by China Credit Information Service Limited. At least half of these corporations are equity foreign-owned. In addition, the sample used consists of corporations which are strictly involved in manufacturing. The use of non-probabilistic sampling techniques creates several limitations for the study. First and foremost, the findings of the study cannot be generalized to the entire population of multinational corporations (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). Specifically, the results may not be applicable to corporations that are not involved in manufacturing. Secondly, the findings may not be applicable to corporations that are outside Taiwan. This is because different countries have different business cultures which significantly affect the operations of business those countries. One of the strengths of this study however is the effort made by the researchers to describe in detail the sampling procedure used to select the sample. The researchers have clearly stated where the sample of corporations used was selected from, the type of corporations included in the sample, the size of the initial sample, and the size of the actual sample from which data were collected.

Data type and data collection methods

The study by Lin and Hsieh (2010) employs predominantly quantitative data. The methods used to collect data include telephone interviews and questionnaires. The telephone interviews were specifically used to obtain relevant information pertaining to the corporations and their managers/presidents. From the information gained via the telephone interviews, the researchers were thus able to send the questionnaires to the relevant corporations. Two similar questionnaires were sent to each of the corporations identified with a time difference of one month to help enhance the response rate. Unfortunately, the usable response rate was low at 41.6%. The low response rate is a manifestation of the limitations of collecting data using mailed questionnaires. The low response rate may have resulted from the inability of the respondents to understand the questions well. It was therefore imperative for the researchers to conduct a pilot testing of the questionnaire before its administration (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005). Unfortunately, this happens to not have been the case in this study.

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Besides the need to pilot test the questionnaire, the researchers would have used a mixed method of data collection such as face-to-face interview in addition to the mailed questionnaire. This would have increased the usable response rate. On the positive side, the questionnaire used was one that had been previously used in prior studies. Hence, the researchers were able to verify the questionnaire’s validity and credibility. Adjustments to the questionnaire were also made by two consulting scholars to further enhance the questionnaire’s validity (Zikmund, 2003). Moreover, the questionnaire’s scales were examined and rewritten by two retired Taiwanese managers to make them relevant to ordinary business usage and professional norm of Taiwan.

Measures

The main measures used in this study are integration, responsiveness and procedural justice. To ensure the validity of these measures, Lin and Hsieh (2010) carried out exploratory factor analysis on them to ensure that they load significantly and exceptionally on the proper measurements. They also calculated the measures’ alpha coefficients and found out that the alpha coefficients of the measures are greater than 0.7, proving that the measures are reliable (Hair, Black, Anderson & Tatham, 2006). In addition to these measures taken by the researchers, the researchers also reduced the bias of common method variance using several techniques: by psychologically separating the measurements, using different response layouts, protecting the anonymity of respondents, reducing evaluation apprehension and conducting Haman’s one-factor test (Podsakoff, MacKenzie & Podsakoff, 2003).

Data Analysis and Results

A number of data analysis techniques were employed by Lin and Hsieh (2010). First and foremost, cluster analysis was used to examine and identify the inherent group structure of the sampled corporations. Second, statistical tests ANOVA and Scheffe’s tests were used to compare the means of each cluster and to assess the first three hypotheses. The fourth hypothesis was tested using a systems approach. Other analysis techniques used include a goodness-of-fit score, Euclidean weighted distance metric and correlation analysis. Each of these techniques was used to serve specific purposes of the study. The data analysis techniques used are consistent with the type of data collected for this study, namely, quantitative data. The results from the data analysis were presented both in tables and figures as well as in narrative form. The tables and figures make it easier for readers to understand the results. The narration of the results further enhances the comprehension of the results (Zikmund, 2003).

Discussion of Findings

Following the presentation of the results, Lin and Hsieh (2010) proceeded to discuss the results in depth particularly as far as the implications the results have on multinational corporations. Specifically, the discussion focused on the theoretical and managerial implications of the study. The discussion of this study has been strengthened by presenting it in the context of what other scholars found regarding the same topic. In addition, studies that both support and contrast Lin and Hsieh’s results have been discussed. The presentation of both supporting and contrasting evidence enables the readers to understand the phenomenon under investigation better and to question why some studies had dissimilar results from the results of the current study. Future investigation of the phenomenon under different settings is thus encouraged.

Conclusion and Recommendation for Future Studies

Lin and Hsieh (2010) conclude their article by discussing the limitations of the study. They argue that even though validity and reliability of the study was enhanced by the alpha coefficients and factor analysis, the inference is based on the presumption that responsiveness can be appropriately operationalized through the freedom of decision making. They also argue that the problem of common method variance could be a possibility due to the use of self-reported questionnaires filled by single respondents. The researchers also mentioned the problem of lack of generalizability of the study’s findings due to the use of corporations from Taiwan only. It is based on these limitations that the researchers proposed future studies to be conducted. The researchers proposed that future studies should make use of respondents from both headquarters and subsidiary companies. Second, Lin and Hsieh (2010) propose that future studies should be conducted using corporations from multiple countries so as to increase the external validity of the study. In conclusion, the study conducted by Lin and Hsieh is informative and follows the proper research process. The findings and their discussion are detailed thereby enabling the readers to understand the phenomenon deeper. Nevertheless, the research article has some limitations that negatively affect its credibility. These limitations should be addressed in future studies so as to enhance their credibility.

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References

Hair, J., Black, W., Anderson, R., & Tatham, R. (2006). Multivariate data analysis. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Leedy, P., & Ormrod, J. E. (2005). Practical research: Planning and design (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

Lin, S., & Hsieh, A. (2010). International strategy implementation: Roles of subsidiaries, operational capabilities, and procedural justice. Journal of Business Research, 63, 52-59.

Podsakoff, P., MacKenzie, S., & Podsakoff, N. (2003). Common method biases in behavior research: a critical review of literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879-903.

Zikmund, W. (2003). Business research methods (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Thomson/South-Western.

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