Management Use of Research
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Research is a valuable tool in management. The results of research contribute to management because pertinent data helps managers construct a sound strategic plan in general. Specifically, managers utilize the results of research to plan, evaluate, or make decisions, among others. In this discussion, three articles will be reviewed to determine how managers use research in practice. The discussion will focus on the importance of research (1) in decision making to prevent failure and mitigate risks, (2) as a critical success factor in the implementation of various strategic management practices (like Knowledge Management), (3) as a tool in targeting specific problems or issues in various aspects or areas of the organization (human resources, research and development, manufacturing, etc.), and (4) in decision-making to improve the quality of production and services.
Research also provides valuable insight on the management of the organization, specifically human resources. Knowledge@Wharton discussed the cost of collaboration and how the research process was used to come up with that conclusion. In the article, Jennifer Mueller, a management professor, talked about how she identified the costs of collaboration by referring to existing research. From existing research, Mueller discovered that collaboration within the organization often leads to a stressful work environment and rifts among the members of the group. Moreover, the results of research prove that small groups are more collaborative and productive than large groups. I believe that Mueller’s findings could be used as an example in organizations, especially when managers need to understand how to use research as a tool in problem-solving.
Although the article does not directly address how managers utilize research in the organizational setting, it stimulates a meaningful discussion where individuals could identify how managers could approach specific problems or issues in the organization. In the case of Mueller and her discoveries from existing research, her evaluations and conclusions prove that research is a valuable guide for making important decisions in the organization and preventing failures and mitigating risks. The information Mueller gleaned from various research studies, for instance, would serve as a warning for managers in organizations looking to implement collaborative plans among employees. Consequently, the knowledge that forcing employees to collaborate in large groups cultivates a stressful work environment would help managers develop and implement stress management strategies or opt to distribute tasks among small groups. In this way, risks of low productivity and performance due to stress would be avoided. The same reasons apply to other situations in the organization. Conducting research could be an important step in pre-planning through which managers could evaluate the strength and effectiveness of their plans by consulting past studies and adjusting their strategies and plans of action based on research results.
Knowledge Management (KM) is a common trend in the field. In Omona, Van Der Weide and Lubega’s (2010) study, they discuss how research done following the Grounded Theory contributes to the efficiency of KM as a management practice. In essence, KM is a process by which managers utilize knowledge and insight to mobilize creativity, development, and strategic practices in the organization. However, the success of KM relies on a variety of factors, including the quality of research undertaken to drive its implementation. KM was described as interdisciplinary in nature, which means that it covers various aspect of managing the organization. For instance, KM as a strategy targets different aspects of management like Human Resources Management (HRM), Research and Development (R&D), and Information & Communication Technology (ICT), among others. Therefore, the efficiency of KM relies on the development of an appropriate, one directional research that specifically targets problem solving and KM administration in different areas of management.
Based on Omona, Van Der Weide and Lubega’s (2010), managers could take advantage of research to drive strategic practices. Managers could implement their management strategies, like KM, by using targeted research to determine how those strategies could be applied in different aspects or situations. For instance, managers could conduct research in order to determine how KM would benefit human resources, while conducting another research to identify how KM could be applied to enhance R&D plans. Research would help managers determine the proper action for the implementation of KM and other practices in order to obtain the best outcomes for the organization.
Another important contribution of research to management is decision-making. Hargreaves (2002) sought to explore if and how managers make decisions using statistical research. In her study, Hargreaves focused on studying how managers utilize statistical research in an actual company. Based on the study, Hargreaves discovered that less than fifty percent of the population of managers in the company utilizes statistics to make decisions. Managers use data they gathered in order to make important decisions that would allow the company to reduce cost of manufacturing, enhance satisfaction among consumers, and meet guidelines and standards in operations.
Overall, Hargreaves’ study proves that research results goes a long way in helping managers make valuable decisions that would ultimately lead to the improvement of operations, production, and quality of services. Moreover, Hargreaves’ underscores the importance for managers to understand how the research process works. Although research follows a standard procedure, the frameworks and approaches in conducting research differ due to the nature of varied problems. Managers should, therefore, understand what kind of research should be applied to achieve specific objectives in order for them to arrive at the kind of results that are relevant to their respective organizations’ needs.