Research methods provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to solve the problems and meet the challenges of a fast-paced decision-making environment. Business research courses are a recognition that students in business, not-for-profit, and public organizations – in all functional areas – need training in the scientific method and its application to decision making. Two factors stimulate interest in more scientific decision making:
(1) the manager’s increased need for more and better information and
(2) the availability of improved techniques and tools to meet this need.
During the last two decades, we have witnessed dramatic changes in the business environment. Emerging from a historically economic role, the business organization has evolved in response to the social and political mandates of national public policy, explosive technology growth, and continuing innovations in global communications. These changes have created new knowledge needs for the manager. Other knowledge demands have arisen from problems with mergers, trade policies, protected markets, technology transfers, and macroeconomic savings-investment issues.
The trend toward complexity has increased the risks associated with business decisions, making it more important to have a sound information base. Increased complexity means there are more variables to consider. The competition is more vigorous, with many business downsizing to make competitive gains. Workers, shareholders, customers, and the public are better informed and more sensitive to their self-interest. The government continues to show concern with all aspects of society. Each of these factors demands that managers have more and better information upon which to base decisions.
To do well in such an environment, you will need to be equipped with an understanding of scientific methods and a means of incorporating them into decision making. You will need to know how to identify good research and how to conduct it.
As the complexity of the business environment has increased, there has been a commensurate increase in the number and power of the tools to conduct research. There is vastly more knowledge in all fields of management. We have begun to build better theories. The computer has given us a quantum leap in the ability to deal with problems. New techniques of quantitative analysis take advantage of this power. Communication and measurement techniques have also been enhanced. These trends reinforce each other and are having a massive impact on business management.