In this chapter, the various issues involved in the design and use of research methodology use in this dissertation will be articulated. The chapter is arranged as follow. Firstly, the philosophy of the research design and methodology employed in this dissertation will be articulated. Specifically, the assumptions and rationales of adopting the research philosophy will be explained. Next, the exact questions developed to investigate workforce motivation and employee satisfaction in Anta Sports Products Limited will be presented. Then, the specific steps and procedures performed in the sampling process of the research method will also be outlined. Later, the limitations associated with these research methods will be discussed. Lastly, brief discussion on ethical considerations under this study will be articulated.
In order to study job satisfaction and work motivation in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited, quantitative analysis will be used. Quantitative method is selected because it is more objective. It is less subjected to the subjective interpretation of researchers. Besides, there are many similar quantitative analyses that can be used to perform a research in the selected organization to be investigated. Many of the already well-designed quantitative based questionnaires can be used to understand or investigate the organization of interested to the researchers. These established questionnaires used in the various peer-reviewed journals can be employed as reliable and dependable references to this dissertation.
In order to perform the quantitative analysis, the typical 7-scale Likert style questionnaires will be used. As usual, the 7-sacle will range from: 7 (strongly agree), to 1 (strongly disagree). The details of the questionnaires are adopted from Saleem, Mahmood, and Mahmood (2010). The researchers have already defined a set of questions to study the job satisfaction and work motivation condition in a series of Pakistan companies. As the research is essentially a peer-reviewed journals or literature, the validity and the appropriateness of the questions used are more or less guaranteed. The interview questionnaires developed by the authors are used because these questions are concise and yet comprehensive. In the next section, the questions to be used will be presented.
After the answers from the research participants are collected, the data obtained will be tabulated into Excel Spreadsheet. Then, SPSS version 14 will be used for analysis purposes. SPSS is the appropriate statistical software in this research because it is widely used in the study and business management and social science. It is also relatively easy to use for the user interactive and simple graphic interface designed in the software. There are also many guides and reference books available on using SPSS for statistical analysis purposes.
After the data is keyed into SPSS, the descriptive statistics for all of the data will be simulated and analyzed. From the careful study of the descriptive statistics associated with the respective research questions, insights can be gained on the scores of various dimensions of workforce motivation and employee satisfaction in the department. Through this process, Research Objectives 1 (i.e., to study the job satisfaction condition in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited) and Research Objectives 2 (i.e., to study the work motivation condition in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited) outlined in Chapter can be fulfilled. For this, the data simulated from SPSS will be presented in Chapter 4.
Secondly, in order to accomplish the Research Objective 3 (i.e., to investigate the relationships of work motivation and job satisfaction in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited) outlined in Chapter 1 previously, the following procedures will be conducted. Firstly, all of the scores for questions designed to investigate the workforce motivation in sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited, for each set of questionnaire will be averaged. Then, the scores for questions designed to investigate the employee motivation in sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited, for each set of questionnaire will also be averaged. The average scores of these two data series will then be tabulated accordingly and to be analyzed using SPSS. The Pearson correlation coefficients of the two data series will be generated. The two data series will be found to be exhibiting statistically significant relationships when the correlation coefficient computed is significant at the 5% significance level. If the two data series are found to have statistically significant correlation coefficient, then it can be concluded that there are empirical evidences supporting that there exists relationships between workforce motivation to employee satisfaction in sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited.
The design of the questionnaires used in any study is crucial to the accuracy and relevancy of the research process and in the appropriateness of the interpretation of research findings. As such, in this dissertation, there is no plan to reinvent the research questions to be used for study to be conducted. Instead, re-use of an already established and deemed accurate questionnaires developed by other scholars will be performed. In this dissertation, the research questions adopted from Saleem, Mahmood, and Mahmood (2010) will be presented as follow.
The research questions to investigate job satisfaction are as follow (the questionnaires are obtained from Saleem, Mahmood, and Mahmood, 2010):
- I am often bored with my job.
- I feel fairly well satisfied with my present job.
- Most days I am enthusiastic about my work.
- I find real enjoyment in my work.
- I am satisfied from the recognition I get for good work.
- I am satisfied from the chances of promotion.
- I am satisfied with the amount of variety in my job.
The research questions to investigate work motivation are as follow (the questionnaires are obtained from Saleem, Mahmood, and Mahmood, 2010):
- I arrive at the office on time and do not leave early.
- The work I do is interesting.
- I am confident of my abilities to succeed at my work.
- I do not blame others. I take responsibilities for my part in mistakes.
- I have a coach/ mentor who keep me alert & motivated to my work.
- I expect more accuracy in my own work as my employees.
- I regularly think/ worry about work issues when I am at home.
- I participate in training to improve my own skills and competencies.
In order to conduct the survey, the entire staffs in the design department will be asked to complete the questionnaires. The confidentiality of the research results will be ensured. The name of the research participants will not be disclosed. There are a total of 60 staffs working in the design department. Thus, there will be a total of 60 sets of completed questionnaires to be obtained. The manager of the department, a relative to the author, had agreed to help up, by distributing the questionnaires to the respective staffs.
As the population size, which in this case, is the total staffs working in the sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited is relatively small (i.e., a total of 60 staffs only in the department), all of the staffs will be interviewed. As the population size is manageable, there is no need for any sampling methods to be conducted. This will enhance the accuracy of the research findings, as any possible errors due to the sampling process can be avoided or eliminated.
In order to ensure that the research participants understand the research objectives and to assist them to make more accurate judgments to provide the best possible answers, the management overseeing the department is being briefed properly on the requirements and the rationales of the research. In order to avoid the research participants from providing politically correct answers to appear nice and polite in the interview process, name will not be collected. When the names of the research participants are not collected, the fears from the employees that their answers may sound impolite or may disturb the management can be reduced significantly. Not only is that, the management understand that objectivity in the research process is important, and without understandings on the reality in the department, it is impossible that the management to able to focus on solving or improving the necessary aspects in the department. The management is open-minded, and has been instructing the employees to provide their true feedback or opinions in answering the research questions, so that improvement can be made whenever necessary. The management even promise that there is definitely no side impacts or consequences (to the performance evaluation process of the employees) due to the answers from them. As such, it is reasonable to believe that the employees are encouraged and will most likely willing to provide their sincere opinion and feelings with matters related to workforce motivation and employee satisfaction in the department.
Although care and various efforts have been done to ensure that the research is conducted properly for accurate and reflective research findings, it is also acknowledged that there are several limitations in this study. Firstly, it should be pointed out that the subject under researched is staffs working in sports equipment and apparels design department in Anta Sports Products Limited. Thus, the research findings should be only reflective on the workforce condition in that particular department in Anta Sports Products Limited. The research findings cannot be assumed to stay true in other department in Anta Sports Products Limited. Similarly, such research findings may not be valid or accurate representation of the workforce condition or perceptions in other Chinese companies in China. Secondly, it is worthy to point out that the research findings is only relevant and accurate at the time the research is being conducted. Such a condition may no longer be true in the department at a particular point in the future. Thirdly, by nature of the statistical tools being used, the existence of statistically significant correlation coefficient between workforce motivation and employee satisfaction cannot be perceived as evidences supporting that there are economically meaningful causation relationships between the two variables. In other words, correlation is not similar to causation. In order to understand the linkages between the two variables in greater depth, other sort of research should be conducted. For example, qualitative research methods may be necessary to understand the feelings and psychological aspects of the employees in a more meaningful and insightful manner. Lastly, it is also recognized that while this research is about investigating the current scores of workforce motivation and employee satisfaction in one of the department in Anta Sports Products Limited, the study is relatively silent on the root cause contributing to the observed research findings. Thus, it is unknown what sort of factors or forces, such as the human resources practices, the working environment, the reward system, the organizational structure, culture or any other relevant factors that is responsible in affecting workforce motivation and employee motivation in the subject under researched. To understand these issues will definitely add more value to the management, but it is not something can be elicited from the type of research design conducted in this dissertation.