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Quantitative and Qualitative Methodology Analysis
STEVEN R. VAN HOOK
July 27, 2002Quantitative Research ArticleSinghapakdi, A., Rawwas, M. Y. A., Marta, J. K., & Ahmed, M. I. (1999). A cross-cultural study of consumer perceptions about marketing ethics. Journal of Consumer Marketing. 16 (3), 275-272. Retrieved
April 14, 2002, from http://clorinda.emeraldinsight.com/vl=17878921/cl=19/nw=1/fm=html/rpsv/cw/mcb/07363761/v16n3/s5/p257
It can be a challenge to demarcate an article into a specific category of "quantitative" or "qualitative." For simplicity's sake, I looked through my collection of articles for those that had considerable use of data across various studies and groups, in the hunt for a sample of quantitative research.
The selected article offers this research question: "How do ethical values of individuals differ when they are reared in different cultures?"
The authors expect that consumers from different cultures will tend to hold different views of ethical issues. The authors cite prior research into various national cultures and accepted norms of ethical behavior within those nations' legal and social structures. For example:
In Germany, where tax manuals state that bribes to domestic officials are not deductible as business expenses, while bribes to foreign officials are. US citizens typically believe such behaviors are wrong. In the Middle East, Lebanese consumers are less sensitive to questionable market practices, more Machiavellian, less idealistic, and more relativistic than Egyptian consumers. Lebanon's extended episodes of brutal civil war and terrorism over recent times may have acculturated Lebanese consumers to devalue the worth of human life, morality, values, and laws. In that particular market, global applications of US marketers' domestic standards may jeopardize their operation's success. Trusting individuals from cultures that habitually exhibit ethical standards that differ from the standards predominating in the USA could be disastrous to multinational marketers.
MethodologyTo test the hypotheses of cultural impacts on ethical values, data were collected from US and Malaysian consumers through a self-administered questionnaire. For the US group, the researchers selected a household panel from a "major southern university." For the Malaysian group, the researchers randomly selected 250 households from various regions of the country.
The questionnaire employed a teleological evaluation process, where "an individual evaluates alternative actions by considering what they perceive as probable consequences, the desirability of those consequences, and the relative importance of various stakeholders."
The authors cite the following results to their research:
The overall differences between US and Malaysian consumers on moral philosophies, perceived moral intensity, and attitudes toward business and salespeople were tested by means of a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) technique. According to the MANOVA results, US consumers and Malaysian consumers are significantly different on the combination of these variables (F = 33.02, p = 0.00).
I nominated this article as quantitative based on its heavy reliance on research data, and its incorporation of research data from prior studies. Given the limited data supply available through the current study's methodology, it appears to provide credible support to the central hypothesis, that culture foundations do impact the development of cultural values. However, the problem with such qualitative studies is they are ultimately limited in the data that can be gathered to support some rather sweeping conclusions.
This study, case in point, determines its conclusions based on the data gathered comparing just two different cultures (US and Malaysian) to answer its original and much broader research question. That limited focus had me wavering toward classifying this article as a qualitative study. However, based on the methodology and data analyses central to the research methodology, it does seem to be a valid and valuable piece of quantitative research.
Qualitative Research ArticleMichailova, S. (1999). Exploring subcultural specificity in socialist and postsocialist organizations: The case of
. Paper presented at the SCOS conference, Anderson School of UCLA, Bulgaria . Retrieved Los Angeles, CA November 8, 1999, from http://www.agsm.ucla.edu/research/conferences/scos/papers/michail.htm
For a qualitative piece, I looked for an article with a more narrow focus of study, which relied more on anecdotal evidence rather than voluminous data to support a research topic.
This research article does not include a hypothesis, per se, but rather seeks to provide an empirical and seemingly ethnographical study of a Bulgarian industrial organization, examining the subcultures that might exist in the organization in both socialist and postsocialist eras (i.e., members of the management subcultures are by rule communists before 1989 and respectively non-communists in the first years after 1989).
The article is based on a case study of an organization given the pseudonym "SOBIO" (abbreviation of State-Owned Bulgarian Industrial Organization). The paper is based on the author's Ph.D. dissertation covering the empirical findings of a case study in one Bulgarian organization, exploring the "subcultural specificity in socialist and postsocialist organizations." The author conducted field work over some nine months in 1994, applying these "complementary methods: studying the history of the organization; interviewing former and present organizational members and making observations." The author interviewed some 54 subjects to formulate her conclusions.
The author cites her empirical findings, with the conclusion:
The more conventional variety in SOBIO's subcultural composition includes hierarchically based, occupationally based and age differentiated subcultures. As stated in the introduction, the rather unconventional (in the Western context) subcultural division is based on the criterion whether organizational members are members of a certain political party or not. In the case of Bulgaria the separation is according to whether organizational actors are members of the communist party or not.
This article had a rather narrow scope, and the results were not extrapolated to support some greater sweeping hypothesis (such as in my selected quantitative article on measuring culture's influence on ethical values). Given the tightly focused topic, and the ethnographical feel of the article, the qualitative research approach seemed appropriate and perhaps even necessary for the nature of the study.
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