An Exploration of Research Practices in the Management Sciences in South Africa
In the management sciences, there are different approaches to research. These depend upon the specific research questions and objectives and their impact upon the findings. At post graduate level, the supervisor and the student need to be au fait with the full spectrum of research strategies and be able to link the appropriate design to the specific research question and objectives. More than that, qualitative and quantitative methods are viewed as opposites rather than strategies on continuum. This limits the research and its value and allows for the predisposition of the supervisor to influence the student's work. In the past, it was believed that certain specialisations/functional areas in the management sciences use specific research strategies rather than employ the full spectrum available. This paper provides an objective view of the research strategies employed by matching these strategies to the field of specialisation and to the planned outcomes from the research. This article looks at the five accredited management journals in South African during the period 2006/2007 in order to determine the link between the research objectives and the research design employed. The journal articles were studied using proportional stratified random sampling, the research design and strategies and the conclusion. A model as presented by Scandura and Williams (2000) was selected to use. However the model was not sensitive enough with respect to the vast range of inaccuracies picked up by the review team. The model was thus reworked using a content analysis approach in conjunction with theory building and modelling. The reworked research metric was then used to study a total of 120 of the 208 articles over the time period under review. The stratification allows for possible differences between the journals and trends thus developed. From these findings it seems that the current review process is not as strict as we believe and/or the reviewers are either not strict enough or not strong enough in all areas of research design and research methodologies in order to see the gaps in the articles. Also the formats of the review forms and the time constraints we face may influence the important function of the review process. Despite these, accredited outputs play an important role in funding and academic promotions. These aspects should be more intensely investigated and, to this, it is our aim to continue with this study and also to compare the local contribution to their international bedfellows. (original abstract)
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