Formulate Hypothetical Research Designs
BTM 8103, Assignment 7
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Robert Levasseur
22 April 2018
In this paper, two hypothetical design plans, quantitative and qualitative, are under examination. Each hypothetical design is nested within the field of e-leadership and, more specifically, virtual teams. Both the academic field of e-leadership as well as recent research in the area of virtual teams are introduced so that each hypothetical design is placed in an appropriate context. The appropriateness of each hypothetical design plan is then discussed as well as the applicability of each design plan to the field of study. The purpose, methodology, and participants of each hypothetical research design are different, but all examine e-leadership of virtual teams.
Scholars have defined e-leadership as the style of leadership by those leaders who mainly use technological mediation in their work as leaders (Savolainen, 2014). The need for this technological mediation could be the result of either cultural or geographic challenges (Avolio, 2014). Due to these technological, cultural, and geographic challenges, e-leaders face the unique dilemma of communicating with their workforce from remote locations rather than in-person (Mackenzie, 2010). Chua (2017) noted that e-leadership was the exercise of social influence by means of information and communication technology for the purpose of producing change in performance and behavior in individuals and organizations.
Relevance of study
As the modern workforce continues to change, with older generations continuing to work and younger generations matriculating into the workforce, organizational leaders face the problem of leading an increasingly diverse workforce (Al-Asfour, 2014). Additionally, as the modern workplace increases in the development and implementation of technology and broadens its geographic footprint, organizational leaders will be pressed to hone their expertise as technological leaders (Al-Asfour, 2014).
Furthermore, research has concluded that the technological work environment has created additional need for research in this field. Recent research on e-leadership has been conducted in a variety of fields including schools (Chua, 2017; Clark, 2017), the government sector (El Khouly, 2014), communication professionals (Jiang, 2016) and Information Technology (IT) professionals (Verma, 2016). Each researcher, while acknowledging the contribution of their study to their field, noted the need for additional research in other areas and locations where e-leadership was utilized.
Hypothetical Qualitative Design
The research problem being addressed in this hypothetical qualitative design is: what are the critical imperatives of e-leadership in developing and influencing deep, meaningful relationships between organizational e-leaders and followers? Several recent studies have recognized this gap in e-leadership literature and have communicated the need for further research in these areas (Avolio, 2014; Mackenzie, 2010; Patchanee, 2011; Lilian, 2014; Chua, 2017).
The purpose of this qualitative proposal, therefore, is to examine the nature of relationship dynamics in the virtual workplace between e-leader and follower and establish an effective leadership theory and methodologies for the e-leader to develop intimacy and trust in both individual relationship and organizational culture.
The research questions being addressed in this hypothetical qualitative design are:
1. How do e-leaders of virtual teams effectively cultivate a culture of intimacy and trust? 2. What methods of digital communication are most effective in developing relational intimacy between e-leaders and workers?
3. What are the potential effects of these technologies on the leadership dynamic in virtual teams?
Population & Sample
For this hypothetical qualitative design, face-to-face interviews will be conducted with 100 virtual team members and 10 e-leaders from 3 different organizations. Lilian (2014) recently researched this issue of e-leadership of virtual teams and concluded that relational and leadership dynamics are greatly impacted by virtual communication as opposed to personal, face-to-face communication. This highlights the need for further research to be conducted within these organizational populations and samples.
Data will be collected by face-to-face interviews with virtual team members. This data collection methodology is preferable for this study over electronic surveys or electronic or telephonic interviews primarily because it allows the researcher to gather more data for field notes including facial expressions, non-verbal communication, tonality when responding, and additional personal interaction that would unable to be gathered or observed using electronic or other data collection methodologies. Each of these benefits are appropriate to a qualitative study as it examines the subjective responses of team members.
Since the data will be collected in the form of-face-to-face interviews with these workers, the data analyzed will be the responses to the researcher’s questions. Additionally, other field notes gathered by the researcher in the form of non-verbal communication will be gathered and compiled. Once all the data has been collected and categorized from these interviews, the researcher will begin to “code” the data, combing through the categories to form larger, thematic categories (Creswell, 2013). These major categories will then undergo further analyzation during which process the elements or factors which caused these major categories to emerge will be extracted (Creswell, 2013).
Hypothetical Quantitative Design
The research problem being addressed in this hypothetical quantitative design is: how does the e-leader effectively establish and develop relationships with individual members on a virtual team which positively contribute to overall team cohesion and performance? This problem will examine three types of personal interaction – face-to-face meetings, individual coaching, and individual professional training – and their impact on team cohesion and performance.
The purpose of this quantitative research is to provide organizational e-leaders with quantitative data and analysis about leading virtual teams which aims to increase their effectiveness and impact.
In addressing this research problem, three research questions will be asked and analyzed throughout this study. Each research question addresses one type of personal interaction between e-leader and virtual team member and its effect on team cohesion and productivity.
1. What effect do face-to-face meetings between e-leader and individual virtual team members have on team cohesion and performance?
2. How do individual coaching sessions between e-leader and individual virtual team members impact team cohesion and performance?
3. How does individual professional training by the e-leader contribute to team cohesion and performance?
This hypothetical study will survey 3 teams of 25 virtual team members from a large national not-for-profit organization. Two online surveys will be distributed and collected, the first at the outset of the study and the second one month into the study. Each survey question is designed to measure the effectiveness of various personal interactions between e-leaders and virtual team members in measurable performance standards and team member ratings of cohesion. Each survey will contain 10 questions relating to team cohesion and 10 questions relating to team productivity.
Each response from these three virtual teams (coded A, B, & C) will be recorded from the initial survey, with each section being coded as either c for cohesion or p for productivity. Accordingly, initial surveys will be coded as 1-Ac, 1-Ap, 1-Bc, 1-Bp, 1-Cc, and 1-Cp. This coding system denotes which survey (1), which team (A, B, or C), and which section (cohesion or productivity) is being addressed. This same coding system will be used for the second survey, with a (2) replacing the (1).
The three types of personal interaction (face-to-face meetings, individual coaching, and individual professional training) will be employed by the organizational leader with each different team. Thus, team A will receive one month of individual face-to-face meetings with the e-leader, team B will receive one month of individual coaching with the e-leader, and team C will receive one month of individual professional training with the e-leader. The responses from the first and second survey (prior to any individual interaction and after one month of consistent individual interaction) will be compared based on virtual team member responses to determine the impact of effectiveness of each method on team cohesion and productivity.
Appropriateness of each design
In each of the above hypothetical designs, the design – whether qualitative or quantitative – is suited to the research question and purpose. Cozby (2014) best described these differences and which design is most appropriate for different types of research. Qualitative research is subjective in nature and uses individual interpretations of research participants; qualitative researchers will often conduct interviews as their method of data collection (Cozby, 2014). The hypothetical qualitative design is appropriate because the research is subjective in nature, seeking to understand the individual responses of virtual team members.
Similarly, the hypothetical quantitative design is suitable because the research is objective and quantifiable in nature based upon data gathered during the study. Cozby (2014) noted that quantitative researchers frequently employ surveys or questionnaires to participants as the preferred method of data collection. This is because quantitative research generally requires a larger sample size of specific data since statistical analysis forms the basis of the conclusions (Cozby, 2014).
Cozby (2014) summarized these differences in research methodology by saying, “qualitative researchers emphasize collecting in-depth information on a relatively few individuals or within a very limited setting; quantitative investigations generally include larger samples” (p. 117).
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