Designz Ltd. is a local based furniture based company, well known for its good quality and stylish design in their furniture. However, in the recent years, sales are bad and it end up with some financial problem. After much consideration, Designz decided to merge with another furniture company. In the process of merging, the management notices that there is a decrease in job morale and job performance of their staff. In the response to the situation, the management has set up a research group comprising of managers and staff from different division and different age groups to understand what causes the drop in job performance and morale of the staff.
Paradigm is described as the progress of scientific practice based on people’s philosophies and assumptions about the world and the nature of knowledge. Fundamentally, the way on how research should be conducted, offering a framework or guideline usually having an accepted set of theories, methods and ways of defining data. (Hussey & Hussey 1997)
There are two dominating paradigms within the social science of how to conduct research and the kind of research methods to be used. They are namely the Positivistic and Phenomenological Paradigms.
Positivistic paradigm is defined as a quantitative approach which believes there is an objective truth existing in the world which can be revealed through the scientific method where the focus is on measuring relationships between variables systematically and statistically. (Casell & Symon 1999) It deals with numbers, uses statistic models to explain the data and is considered “hard” research. (Bauer & Gaskell 2002) Using this paradigm, hypotheses are formulated and it is either proved or falsified. The research focus on facts and look for causality and fundamental laws (Kim 2003) and they ask questions like how many, how widespread or how old.
On the other side of the equation, phenomenological paradigm is more concerned with attempting to accurately describe, decode and interpret the exact meanings to persons of phenomena occurring in their normal social contexts. It is usually pre-occupied with complexity, authenticity, shared subjectivity of researcher and researched the minimization of illusion. (Casell & Symon 1999) This is more of a qualitative research and according to Bauer and Gaskell (2002), it avoids numbers, deals with “interpreting” social realities and is considered “soft” research and they questions like “why?’
Both paradigms have contrasting characteristics to show their diversity in the way they approach and analyze a problem and they are summarized in the table below.
Table 1 Characteristics of two main paradigms
|Positivistic paradigm |Phenomenological paradigm | |Produces quantitative data |Produces qualitative data | |Uses large samples |Uses small samples | |Concerned with hypothesis testing |Concerned with generating theories | |Data is highly specific and precise |Data is rich and subjective | |Location is artificial |Location is natural | |High reliability |Low reliability | |Low validity |High validity | |Generalizes from sample to population |Generalizes from one setting to another |
Source: Hussey & Hussey 1997, pg. 54
Using positivistic or...
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