Swire is one of the largest European oil and gas companies. It has established a training and management development program to sustain growth and competitiveness. The company has outlets in China, Hong Kong, the United States, and England. Some of its subsidiaries deal with offshore operations, oilfield services and distribution of gas products around the world. According to Giacalone and Rosenfeld (2013), one of the best strategies that enhance corporate growth is employee empowerment. In the training and development program, employees take sponsored programs that enhance their skills, communication, and professionalism. Additionally, the company has reevaluated its priorities to address diversity and the discreet goals of every employee. One of the factors that influence the implementation of the program is a changing competitive landscape that is caused by a gradual shift of frontier sources. The expectations of industrial regulators, shareholders, and communities are rapidly increasing. The gas and oil sector is receiving pressure from national and international environmentalists to reduce risks by enhancing expertise and employees’ capabilities. The training and management program has reduced the attrition rate among middle and top level management.
Which are the core skills that have been acquired after the implementation of the employee management development program, and what is their impact on the management retention rate and performance?
The selection process of an appropriate research method is a complex task that requires a thorough analysis of resources, the expected outcomes, scope, and duration of the study. The scope will be narrow because it focuses on one company. Additionally, only the management team will be involved in the study. A time constraint will limit the use of quantitative studies because they require a lot of time to analyze, interpret and present data.
The study will be evaluating the effectiveness and impact of the program on the retention rate and performance level of the management. The stakeholders will be expecting the research to identify some of the skills acquired by the management throughout the training session. Additionally, the project cost will be an important factor to consider because of its influence on the scope and activities of the researchers.
The research will use qualitative methods to address the research question. According to Corbin and Strauss (2008), a qualitative research involves the collection of non-numerical data and analysis of textual evidence. Additionally, it evaluates experiences of participants with aims of developing a general theory or assumption. A case study of the organization will be conducted. Open-ended interviews will be used to collect data from the management. According to Boje (2001), an interview is a set of questions that is presented verbally to a target population. One of the challenges expected when selecting the research method is to identify the most suited to this case study. Questionnaires are appropriate data collection techniques, but they limit the scope of answers because they provide close-ended questions (Creswell, 2013). Interviews are the best techniques because they provide rich and explanatory answers that are not anticipated by a researcher. In this study, the interview questions will focus on the role of participants in the organization, the duration of employment and experiences before, during and after the development program. Some of the key issues that will be featured include the organizational resources used throughout the training. The aim of investigating the resources is to find out the level of organizational commitment. The career development initiatives will also be studied using the interview. Additionally, all the individual skills acquired during the program will be assessed.
The participants will be asked to provide a list of professional and personal skills acquired during the training period. The interview will evaluate the relationship of employees’ goals with those of the organization. Organizational developments are realized by aligning the employee career goals to its mission statement. Some of the strategies used to accomplish goals include talent management and improving internal relations. The duration of the program will also be assessed to determine its impact on productivity and professional growth.
Ethical issues will emerge during and after the study (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). One of the major ethical concerns is on the voluntary participation of the management team. Although the study has already mapped out its activities and plans, it has to seek approval from the target population. According to Alvesson and Skoldberg (2000), participants should never be forced to participate in any research. A participation appraisal form will be drafted and presented to the study group. The analysis section will omit the names and personal information of participants to enhance privacy and confidentiality. Random numbers will be assigned to prevent revealing the identities of the participants.
Some of the challenges expected when conducting the interviews include unresponsive participants and unavailability of some target members because of organizational commitments (Creswell, 2013). The first challenge will be solved using an interactive and detailed briefing on the necessity and significance of the study. The second will be addressed by allowing some participants to respond over the phone, through emails and other convenient channels.
The data collection period will be two days. The timeframe covers the time that will be spent to select the participants and issue appraisal forms. The analysis process will begin immediately after collecting data from all participants. The interview answers will be grouped into various categories. These groups will contain the employment background of participants, the organizational resources, career development, skills acquired, and the relationship between the employees’ goals and those of the organization.
- What is your name and relationship with this company?
- How long have you been working for this company?
- Were you working anywhere else before joining this company? If yes, could you briefly explain what influenced your decision to work here?
- Kindly explain about the ‘Employee Management Development Program’ initiated by this company
- When was the program implemented and for how long has it been running?
- Who is financing its operation? Is it the employees or the company?
- Which are some of the resources offered to sustain the program?
- Do you think the program is interfering with your roles, responsibilities, and ability to carry out your professional mandates?
- What have you learned so far? Kindly list a number of skills that you might have learned from this program.
- How have the new skills affected your professional and personal capacity to work in your current position?
- Kindly explain the differences in capabilities before the program was implemented and after its implementation?
- What do you think needs to be done to realize your career development goals?
- Do you think the program contributes to your career development plan? Explain how
- Why have you decided to remain in this company rather than seeking employment opportunities in other companies?
- Has the company succeeded in merging your professional development goal to its vision and development goal?
- How can you rate your relationship with the company in regards to interior relations?
Addressing the Questions
The research question can be addressed by using different qualitative methodologies. One of the possible methods is the narrative inquiry. A grounded theory methodology can also be used to address the research question. Ethnography methods are also appropriate techniques that can address the research question.
The alternative methodologies use different techniques to address the research question. In the narrative inquiry, the researcher will assess the management activities and record all observable behaviors and activities. Field notes will be collected as researchers interact with the target community. Researchers will make independent reports about what they see, hear and experience without interfering with the activities of the target population. The data collected will be compared to the expected outcomes of the program (Creswell, 2013). An ethnography methodology would be an essential qualitative research technique because it evaluates the characteristics of a particular population or community. In the case study, the management personnel will serve as the focus group. The findings from the target group are used to represent the characteristics of a larger population. The grounded theory is also a popular qualitative technique that will be used to address the research question (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2012). Different research materials addressing the research question will be analyzed. The findings will be compared to the current research setting in order to understand the effects of the training program on a company’s retention rate. The findings are represented in the form of codes that represent the foundations for new theories. The codes will then be combined to generate concepts that are related to the research question.
The data collected from each of the alternative methodologies will be unique and different from the rest. The narrative inquiry process would give surveillance reports that will rely on the interpretations and attentiveness of a researcher. The findings are susceptible to biases from a researcher’s perceptions and assumptions. In the ethnography method, the findings will represent the beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors of a single community. Additionally, the findings will be used to formulate a generalized belief or conclusion about the target community. Grounded theory will not demonstrate the actual impact of the program to the employees because it creates standard conclusions from universal theories. The codes and concepts that will be derived from the literature analysis will serve as the foundation for new theories. It will provide theoretical guidelines, program benefits, and expected outcomes that can be measured using pre-existing models.
Case studies are some of the best qualitative techniques because they offer detailed reports on a subject in the area of study (Creswell, 2013). The in-depth analysis exposes researchers to important and unpredictable outcomes. Additionally, the methodology establishes detailed interactive forums with research participants.
Critical researchers are motivated by the desire to uphold justice and bring out change. They focus on addressing inequalities and social injustices that affect different communities. Poststructuralists focus on the relationship between the self and the society. They focus on the constructs of the self and the influence of power-knowledge relationships. Although the poststructuralists emphasize on social relations, critical researchers focus on bringing change by dealing with injustices. They are representatives of the social “good”.
Alvesson, K., & Skoldberg, M. (2000). Reflexive methodology: new vistas for qualitative research. London, United Kingdom: Sage.
Boje, D. (2001). Narrative methods for organizational and communication research. London, United Kingdom: Sage.
Corbin, J. M., & Strauss, A.L. (2008). Basics of qualitative research, techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. London, United Kingdom: Sage.
Creswell, J. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. London, United Kingdom: Sage.
Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R., & Jackson, P. (2012). Management research. London, United Kingdom: Sage.
Giacalone, R. A., & Rosenfeld, P. (2013). Impression management in the organization. New York, NY: Psychology Press.