1.2 PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH:
The purpose of this research is to investigate and analyze both the theoretical and practical issues related to customer purchasing behavior in the telecommunication sector. This paper will also seek to identify the most critical elements that influence a customer's behavior and buying decisions, as well as to examine the relationship between a particular service's attributes and an individual's characteristics.
It is hoped this research will provide a better understanding of how customers perceive telecom service in Oman, which could help telecom operators to better invest in ways that would positively influence future consumer behavior. Moreover, the study will examine the relationship between a customer's personal attributes and their behavior so telecom operators can invest accordingly in ways that will maximize a return on their investment.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The main goal of this paper is to study both the theoretical and practical elements that determine customer behavior as it relates to the Telecom Industry. To accomplish this, the researcher will seek to amalgamate different studies in this service sector.
The research will attempt to answer the following questions:
What are the most important factors that influence a customer's buying behavior when it comes to selecting a mobile service provider?
What are the most important elements in a service's attributes that influence customer behavior when selecting a mobile service provider?
What is the current consumer feedback on mobile service in Oman?
1.3 THE CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF THE RESEARCH
The following conceptual model has been used in this research:
H1 Family has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H2 Friends have a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H3 Occupation has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H4 Financial situation and Income have a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H5 Personality and lifestyle have a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H 6 Financial situation and Income have a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H 7 Personal lifestyle has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H 8 Personal standing within the society has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H 9 Lifestyle has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H 10 Perception about the Operator's image has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H 11 Perception about the company's contribution to social responsibility has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H 12 Perception about the Operator's image has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H 12 Reference group (recommendations of independent telecom professionals) has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H 13 Sex and Marital Status have a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
H14 Price of service attributes has a significant and positive effect on customer buying behavior.
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODS
3.1 Introduction of Research Methods
Scholars and scientists use research methods as both a scientific tool and methodology to investigate and establish facts between dependent and independent variables. Organizations, meanwhile, use this research to make appropriate decisions that will lead to both success and survival in the competitive marketplace.
Collis and Hussey define research methodology as a comprehensive approach to the whole process of research study, as well as a technique used to collect and analyze different types of data. These authors suggest that descriptive research be used to describe what already exists - with respect to the conditions and the variables in the given situation - and to provide an accurate picture for that situation, group or individual (Collis and Hussey 2003). They also maintain that some people prefer using the quantitative approach, which instead depends on data collection and statistical analysis necessary to measure the given phenomena. Sedmak and Longhurst believe that both quantitative and qualitative research methods should be conducted to ensure knowledge gleamed from various research processes is convincing (Sedmak & Longhurst, 2010).
Given that the proposed research will be based on both dependent and independent variables, qualitative research cannot be employed, as the data is subjective. Therefore, a quantitative research method will be used instead to facilitate testing the proposed hypotheses about customer satisfaction and loyalty. In his research, Babbie discovered that surveys make it more feasible to test large samples (Babbie, 1998). Including many records from a variety of respondents allows potential outcomes to be generalized. This method will allow those outcomes to be quantified, a significant step in statistical analysis.
3.2 Sampling procedure and Design
Step 1: Define the Target Population
In this case, the population will be customers who are currently using mobile telecommunication services in Oman. The survey in question will include people from all of the nation's eleven Governorates.
Step 2: Select the Data Collection Method
The research will contain both primary and secondary data. The primary data collection will be performed using a self-administered survey (online questionnaire) method, which will involve a lot of people from many different places. Kervin has indicated that questionnaires are the best way to ensure the accuracy of research results (Kervin, 1999). The questionnaires will be distributed using the face-to-face method in order to enhance the communication between interviewer and respondent. According to Mayer, the face-to-face method actually motivates respondents to participate in the survey (Mayer, 1999). The survey will also be distributed through various social networks in order to allow more people to participate.
The questionnaire will be formulated using mostly close-ended questions that will make it easier for respondents to complete the survey. It will be designed in eight sections, each of which will address the overall research question and hypotheses. The questionnaire will use a seven-point Likert Scale to rank important aspects and variables. Churchill and Peter suggest that a seven-point scale is crucial to reliability as it discourages respondents from simply using the mid-point as a safe and automatic response (Churchill and Peter, 1984). The questionnaire will be distributed to university students, employees in different organizations and to random people walking in the streets.
Secondary data will also be collected from the relevant literature; including books, published and academic journals, magazines and websites. The researcher will also use the libraries and any other useful resources available at Lancashire University.
Step 3: Select the Appropriate Sampling Method
The study will use simple random sampling techniques. Waksberg points out that doing so ensures that all units have the same chance of being selected (Waksberg, 1978).
Step 4: Determine Sample Sizes
McQuitty has highlighted the importance of determining the minimum sample size required in order to achieve a desired level of statistical significance within a given model, prior to data collection (McQuitty, 2004). On the other hand, Garver and Mentzer suggest that the “critical sample size” is 200 and any number above 200 will provide sufficient statistical significance for data analysis (Garver and Mentzer, 1999). This researcher will consequently aim to target 300 customers. However, expectations are the response rate will be around 80%.
3.3 Analysis Method
There will be a variety of methods used to analyze the data in order to address the proposed hypotheses. Descriptive statistics, correlations and regression analysis will all be conducted to interpret the data. The study will use statistical analyses by SPSS systems, which are designed to help the researcher explore the relationships between dependent and independent variables.
CHAPTER 4: ETHICAL ASPECTS
Ethical considerations will be very important in the research process, particularly during the primary and secondary data collection. Rogers has mentioned that there are special ethical considerations to consider, including protecting the rights of participants in the preparation of research in order to protect them from any harm (Rogers, 2008). The researcher will therefore adhere to the ETHICAL PRINCIPLES FOR TEACHING, RESEARCH, CONSULTANCY, and KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER AND RELATED ACTIVITIES that have been set by the University of Central Lancashire.
4.1 Some Ethical Considerations:
Prior approval: The researcher will obtain the required approval to conduct the survey. He will notify management and respondents as to the aims and objectives of the research. While distributing the survey questionnaire, the researcher will attach the questionnaire with a cover sheet that presents complete information about the survey, as well as how and where results will be published. This will also act as a consent form. The researcher will also present some official documents from the university before questionnaires are handed out and completed.
Free of maleficence to participants: The researcher will provide respondents the absolute freedom to either participate in or decline the research. There will be no pressure placed on any individuals to participate in the study.
Maintain Confidentiality: The researcher will ensure every respondent's privacy when conducting interviews and questionnaires. The participant’s identity and information will be protected. Moreover, the researcher will make sure to give the respondent ample privacy so that the questionnaire can be completed confidentially.