BX2174: Research & Decision-Making for Business
- Analysing the Business Decision or Problem
The aim of this research proposal is to analyse the factors which affect the decision making process of the generation Y cohort and whether members of this cohort are believers of brand loyalty.
Businesses are concerned with maximization of profit which can be achieved when they either increase the volume of sales or work on the cost of the product. The behavioural pattern of the target customers of the company also has an impact on the sales trend and the decisions that the company takes. The company cannot, at any point of time, undermine the importance of the values, attitudes, characteristics and likely behaviours of its target customer market.
One such target market group is what is popularly known as “Generation Y”. This generation is made of people who, in today’s times, are in their young adulthood. They form a significant part of the target customer market for any industry whether it is electronics, fashion, manufacturing etc. For a company to be successful in its marketing and sales initiative and to be able to achieve the desired sales result, a company needs to make efforts to understand this target market. (Sawchuk, Peter H., 2002)
For the purpose of this assignment, it would be analysed what factors influence the decisions that are taken by members who belong to the Generation Y category. The questions that would be asked as part of this research paper would provide answers for companies about the Generation Y’s expectations for brand loyalty and how members of generation Y move through the customer decision making process. These questions are very important from the point of view of a company which targets this market. The answers which would be provided through this research paper would help the companies in drawing better strategies and marketing campaigns or promotional campaigns to engage its target market.
Some of the generational research questions that have been used as a part of this paper are:
- What are generation Y’s expectations from a brand before they make a purchase?
- Do generation Y seek better quality at low cost or do they seek quality at any cost?
- Is generation Y budget driven and focused on cost and discounts?
- Is generation Y conscious about the brand they purchase?
- Do generation Y feel comfortable with experimenting with new things and new products available in the market or do they prefer purchasing old products?
- Do generation Y conduct research or compare the available products before making a purchase? (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 1999)
- What is Already Known about the Decision or Problem
Much consideration has been given to the problem of branding activities by researchers and business executives. Every company wants to be able to build a base of loyal customers. The company targets that a customer who purchases its products once should keep coming back to buy the same product again and again. This is called as brand loyalty. But to be able to build brand loyalty a company needs to first understand the needs, desires and expectations of its target market. The same logic is applicable when a company tries to understand the factors which influence the final decision making process of its target customers.
Generation Y is a termed which is used for people who were born between 1982 and 1994. At the present moment, these people are in their adulthood and are in a position to make individual and uninfluenced decisions about the brands that they prefer and the things that they buy. One can safely say that members of generation Y make up a significant component of the target market for every company and every industry. They are the career makers and so have the purchasing power. Members of generation Y are seen as confident, determined and tolerant. Also, a significant impact of media and internet can be seen on this generation. They are very technology savvy and also community oriented. They are more aware of their surroundings and of what goes on at a global level. (Livingstone, D. W. and Sawchuk, Peter H., in press)
On the other hand, it has been found that Generation Y is very focused on value systems, honesty and integrity. Consequently these are the values that they would seek from the products they purchase and also from the companies that manufacture the products they consume. This would a very big factor in determining and influencing the decision making process for a purchase by Gen Y.
Business that target this generation for their goods and services need to keep these points in mind before they can form or decide on a strategy for promotion, advertising, marketing or even sales. This target market makes up the bulk of any market and mostly consists of singles and young couples. These demographics influence a lot of decisions that people make when they make a purchase. This is why it is important for a company to understand the behaviour pattern, value system and characteristics of this target group. Through this research paper, a survey has been conducted of a sample of the members who belong to generation Y. The questions asked in the survey will help in analysing the understanding the factors which influence the decision, attitudes and behaviour of the members. Through this, one will be able to understand whether generation Y values brand loyalty and what factors drive their decision making.
Noble, S., & Schewe, C. (2003). Cohort segmentation: An exploration of its validity. Journal of Business Research, 56(12), 979-987.
(this journal is available electronically through JCU library ejournals)
Twenge, J. M., & Foster, J. D. (2010). Birth cohort increases in narcissistic personality traits among American college students, 1982–2009. Social Psychological & Personality Science, 1, 99 –106.
(this journal is available electronically through JCU library ejournals)
Twenge, J.M., Campbell, S.M., Hoffman, B.J., & Lance, C.E. (2010).Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing. Journal of Management, 36(2), 1117-1142.
(this journal is available electronically through JCU library ejournals)
- The Overall Research Design – Evaluating Options
There are four main types of research designs that a person or a group conducting research can make use of. These are: exploratory research, descriptive research, explanatory research and some special cases in which case studies, action research etc can be used. The purpose of making use of these designs is so that the relevant data for the research can be efficiently and effectively collected. Based on this data, the research is further conducted and the hypothesis is tested.
For the purpose of this report, the topic that has been selected is to evaluate and understand the behaviour pattern and value system of members of Generation Y. To be able to understand this one needs to collect feedback and answers from members of this target group which can be done most effectively through a survey.
If one evaluates the options that are available for conducting research, one finds that an exploratory research type of research design is ideal for those cases where they a large sample group and the nature of the research is quantitative. In such cases, it is easy to collect data from a number of people at one time and then analyse the data using the most suitable tools. Descriptive type of research design is also ideal for quantitative type of research where a number of people can be contacted. However, it also has an inductive approach based on which it can be used in different scenarios. Conducting interviews, either structured or unstructured, is a widely used method for conducting descriptive research. For the purpose of this paper, exploratory research method would be most suitable. (Menzies, Heather, 1996)
Explanatory type of research design would not be successful in this case because this is used in cases where the purpose of the research is to address a pre-existing problem or to find solutions to such problems. It is based on conduction of experiments to find the answers along with other tests which can validate the hypothesis that has been formed. For this reason, for the purpose of this paper, making use of an explanatory approach would not be suitable.
Thus the ideal approach for the purpose of this paper would be to make use of the exploratory form of research design. A survey questionnaire consisting of questions which would help analyse the factors related to the research topic would be circulated and distributed amongst the sample group and answers would then be collected from them.
- What are the Key Variables and how will you Measure Them?
The business problem being targeted through this paper deals with the behavioural aspects and value systems of a segment of the population and the factors which drive their decisions. So, the variables which are related to this problem will be focused on the behavioural aspects of the consumer. Along with the behavioural aspect of the problem other variables which would be considered during the research proposal would include age, gender, income, geographic location, availability of products, expectations from products with regard to cost and quality and purchase history. (Latour, Bruno, 1993)
The following questions need to be considered when this research is conducted:
- What are the things that Generation Y values the most?
- Are they concerned about wealth and status or about the greater good?
- What is their response towards the environment and its conservation?
- What influence can be seen of technology on generation Y?
- Do media have an impact on the members of this generation?
- Are they loyal towards a brand or do they prefer to experiment by changing their brands?
- Do they seek convenience from the purchases they make?
- Do they make purchases based on experiences, references or any other factor?
The data for this research would be collected through detailed surveys. Measuring these variables would be largely dependent on the responses that are provided by the people who answer the survey. Since the answers asked are of a qualitative nature, they need to be quantified by analysing and ranking the responses. This would give a fair idea about the popular factors which influence decisions made by generation Y. (Jermier, John M., Knights, David and Nord, Walter R. (eds), 1994)
It is important that the age of the respondent or the person who would be taking the survey should be noted because it is possible that people who are in their 20s at the moment might have a different response as compared to those who are in their 30s. Working out the purchase history might be difficult but by structuring questions which allow the respondent to answer concretely, this could be possible.
- Sample Requirements & Sampling Options
The topic of this paper and the question for which an answer is being sought can be effectively answered only when one has a complete idea about the factor which exist within the members of generation Y can be understood. The sample that would be made, thus, for the purpose of this paper must consist of individuals who belong to this generation i.e. those who are born between 1982 and 1994. This would mean that every person in the generation Y is a part of the survey population. From this, the accessible population will have to be selected which would be those who would answer the survey questionnaire.
Simple random sample is the most frequently used method of sampling in which the sample is picked randomly from the targeted population. Every person or member of the population has an equal chance of getting selected. Other options include systematic sampling, stratified sampling, cluster sampling and double sampling. There are various non-random or non-probability methods of sampling available as well. The selection of an appropriate sampling method depends upon the nature of the problem which is being targeted through the nature.
In this research paper, total population which has to be considered consists of members who have been born in a specific time period and belong to a certain age group. Since the main population has been correctly identified, one can now make use of the random sampling method to select the people who would be answering the survey. There is no bias on the grounds of gender, age, community or ethnicity and so any person who belongs to this population can be selected for answering the survey.
The survey method would be most effective for data collection which would be based on the data that would be collected from an initial focus group. The feedback from the focus group will also allow the researchers to frame a questionnaire that is most relevant and asks the right questions so that only useful information can be collected from the survey participants. Nominal and quantifiable value will also be placed on the opinions and the information that would be collected. From this data, it would be possible to provide answers to the business problem being addressed through this research paper. (Herzenberg, S., Alic, J. and Wial, H., 1998)
6. Ethical Issues
While conducting this research a lot of points have to be kept in mind by the persons conducting the research. The foremost thing is the collection of contact details of all members or participants who would be asked to take part in the survey. The participants need to be contacted and told about the research and for this their contact information needs to be taken from a source which is publically accessible. The participants, when contacted, should not have a problem with the fact that their contact information was accessed and they should not feel that their privacy was violated at any point of time.
The potential participants should be told about the details of the research and also about who source from which funding for the research has been collected. Full disclosure will help in gaining confidence of the participants. They should also be told about the prospective time line and how long the survey is likely to be. (Frenkel, S., Korczynski, M., Shire, K.A. and Tam, M., 1999)
The survey questions should be carefully structured so that they do not offend any participant or lead to any controversy. Prior consent from the participants should be taken that they do not have any objection if the data or results of the survey are published in a public portal or journal.
Frenkel, S., Korczynski, M., Shire, K.A. and Tam, M. (1999) On the Front Line: Organization of Work in the Information Economy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP.
Herzenberg, S., Alic, J. and Wial, H. (1998) New Rules for a New Economy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Jermier, John M., Knights, David and Nord, Walter R. (eds) (1994). Resistance and Power in Organizations. New York: Routledge.
Latour, Bruno (1993). “Ethnography of a ‘High Tech’ Case: About Aramis” in Lemonnier, P. (ED.) Technological Choices: Transformation in material cultures since the neolithic. London: Routledge.
Livingstone, D. W. and Sawchuk, Peter H. (in press) Hidden Dimensions of the Knowledge Society. Washington, D.C.: Rowman and Littlefield.
Luff, P., Hindmarsh, J. and Heath, C. (Eds.) (2000). Workplace Studies: Recovering Work
Practice and Informing System Design. London: Cambridge University Press.
Menzies, Heather (1996) Whose Brave New World?: The Information Highway and the New Economy. Toronto: Between the Lines.
Sawchuk, Peter H. (2002). Adult Learning and Technology in Working-Class Life. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, Chris and Thompson, Paul (1999) “Revaluating the Labour Process Debate” in Wardell, Mark, Steger, Thomas L. and Meiksins, Peter Rethinking the Labour Process. Albany, USA: SUNY Press.
Suchman, Lucy (1987) Plans and Situated Action: The Problem of Human-Machine
Communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Suchman, Lucy (2002) “Practice-Based Design of Information Systems: Notes from the
Hyper developed World” The Information Society. Vol.18(2), pp.139-144.
Thompson, P. (1989). The Nature of Work (2nd. Ed.). London: Macmillan.
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (1999). Turning Results into Action: Public Service-wide Results. Ottawa: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
- Checklist of Assessment Criteria
- Basic requirements necessary for a Pass
- The proposal uses the template provided and includes all relevant section
- The proposal is properly referenced and no problems are identified through safe assignment
- The proposal is free of spelling and grammatical errors (it has been carefully proof read)
- The review of available information includes at least 3 relevant academic papers and 2 other relevant reports/WebPages
- General Assessment Criteria (10 marks for each criterion)
Overall Mark out of 70 _________ Overall percentage out of 20%____________________
________ Overall percentage out of 20%_______________