This chapter elaborates the methodology adopted in this research. The chapter has got into 3 sections: section 5.1 discusses the strategy adopted in the research and the data collection techniques; section 5.2 deals with Factor Analysis to identify the most important factors; and section 5.3 elaborates The Structural Equation Modelling.
Design of Research Process for Research in Productions Management
The academic research is a process of sequenced approach which includes procedures to design the research, collect data as evidence, analyse and interpret the data acquired, and make conclusions (Croom, 2009). For every research process, there are unique sequence of procedures and may follow different patterns (Gill and Johnson, 2010).
The Production management has been defined as “The activities, decisions and responsibilities of managing the production and delivery of products and services” (Slack et al., 2007, p4). It has wide scope on the perspective of operations as transforming resources (Karlsson, 2009; Hill, 2012). As such, the production management research is a broad field (Hensley, 1999), it may encompass many issues and can be carried out using many different research designs (Karlsson, 2009) for the collection and analysis of the data (Yin, 2003b). On the basis of the source of data used and the approach adopted to generate knowledge, production management research may be broadly classified as axiomatic research, empirical research and interpretive research (Buffa, 1980; Meredith et al., 1989; Wacker, 1998; Bertrand and Fransoo, 2002; Croom, 2009). Axiomatic research applies mathematical models (Meredith et al., 1989) is fundamentally a model-driven method (Stigum, 1990). It uses ‘abstract’ data (i.e., assumptions or manipulated data) rather than empirically observed data (Croom, 2009). It aims to improve the existing study results or search for an optimal solution for a newly defined problem (Bertrand and Fransoo, 2002). On the other hand, Empirical research is a reality-driven (Bertrand and Fransoo, 2002) deductive method (Craighead and Meredith, 2008) using data derived from the field to describe phenomena (Meredith, 1998) and identify causal relationships among the relevant variables (Flynn et al., 1990; Swamidass, 1991; Malhotra and Grover, 1998). The third method, i.e.Interpretive research is a reality-driven approach based on empirical data (Croom, 2009), but it is inherently more inductive and subjective (Meredith et al.,1989). It is primarily used for descriptive studies (Prasad and Babbar, 2000) to understand how others perceive, articulate and understand events and concepts (Craighead and Meredith, 2008).
Designing the Empirical research
Empirical research can be described as “field-based research which uses data gathered from naturally occurring situations” (Flynn et al., 1990, p251), “and subsequent reporting of findings and conclusions” (Minor et al., 1994, p5). In addition, it has been widely used in the field of production management (e.g., Figure 5.1) (Filippini, 1997; Scudder and Hill, 1998) for the purpose of explaining the underlying phenomena and related theories (Rungtusanatham et al., 2003; Bayraktar et al., 2007; Fisher, 2007). Hence, the field-based empirical research design is apt for the current study. Since, 1) the domain of this research is production management, and 2) the objective of this research is to investigate the cause-effect relationships of application of theoretical model of the shop floor management tools vis-a-vis the performance of Kaizen.
Figure 5.1 The research designs used (in %) in 5 selected leading OM journals (Craighead and Meredith, 2008)
Empirical research can be applied for exploratory (theory building) as well as explanatory (theory verification/testing) studies (Flynn et al., 1990). On the basis of the nature of the research questions, the present study aims at verifying the theory using an empirical research design to test causal models which can adequately explain the reality rather than building a theory.
Empirical research strategies commonly applied in production management
As per Flynn et al. (1990), Wacker (1998), and Bertrand and Fransoo (2002), common empirical research approaches may include case study, survey, database study, panel study and focus group (Table 5.1).
(the single/multiple cases) The in-depth study of one or more examples from industry.
Surveys The use of a collection instrument to determine the state of industry.
Database The use of archival data, typically large databases, from which analysis is done to draw conclusions about the research.
Panel study The use of a group of experts to obtain information about a topic in writing.
Focus group Similar to a panel study, but the group is physically assembled and each response is
given to the entire group orally, rather than in written form.
Table 5.1 Common empirical research strategies (Flynn et al., 1990; Scudder and Hill, 1998; Saunders et al., 2007)
The most commonly applied empirical research strategies are case studies and surveys (Table 5.2) in production management research to acquire data for theory building and verification (Minor et al., 1994; Scudder and Hill, 1998; Rungtusanatham et al., 2003; Gimenez, 2005; Jiang et al., 2007).
Case (e.g., Case study) Rationalist (e.g., Survey)
Advantages Relevance Understanding Exploratory depth Precision Reliability
Standard procedures Testability
Disadvantages Access and time Triangulation requirements Lack of controls Unfamiliarity of procedures Sampling difficulties Trivial data
Low explained variance Variable restrictions
Table 5.2 Advantages and disadvantages of survey and a case study based on Meredith (1998, p443)
A case study research strategy is “a detailed examination of an event or series of related events (Yin, 2003b) which, in the opinion analyst, exhibits (or exhibit) the operation of some identified general theoretical principle” (Mitchel, 1982, p27). This strategy (Figure 5.2 and Table 5.3) focusses the context of discovery (McCutcheon and Meredith, 1993; Steenhuis and Bruijn, 2006), and hence, it is primarily used for theory building and exploratory study (Eisenhardt, 1989; Meredith, 1998; Voss et al., 2002). It emphasises on meanings and experiences of other people to deduce how they percieve, articulate, and understand phenomena and concepts (Meredith et al., 1989; Lowenberg,
1993). Hence, this strategy may make use of multiple sources of evidence (Tellis, 1997; Yin, 2003b) either quantitatively (e.g., questionnaires, databases) or qualitatively (e.g., interviews, panel study, observations, documentary analysis) (Saunders et al., 2007) to facilitate deeper investigation into a particular contemporary incident (Yin, 2003a; Croom, 2009) or social event (Harrison, 2002; Babbie, 2004) within its real life or context of operation (Cooper and Schindler, 2003; Yin, 2003b). Quite possibly, this strategy may lead to original and creative insights and the development of new theory, but the conclusions may be drawn only from a limited set of cases (Voss et al., 2002).
Figure 5.2 The different research cycles of a case study and survey based on Steenhuis and Bruijn de (2006)