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CHAPTER III: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

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3.1 Introduction
Leedy (1997) defined the term ‘Research methodology’ as the processes of systematic
collection and analysis of data with the purview of acquiring high level of research knowledge.
Similar to the definition, this chapter describes in detail the objectives of the present research
which is followed by the type of research design, philosophy and approaches used. Furthermore,
the type of sampling method incorporated and the methods used for data collection are also
explained. Finally, the data analysis tool used for the evaluation of collected data, the ethical
considerations of the study and the limitations of the study are discussed and the section
concludes with an end summary.

3.2 Research design
One of the foremost steps of a research is the research design which aids to provide a
good understanding about the type of data collection and the study limitations, considering the
aspects of resource availability and time. In this regard, Easterby-Smith et al. (1994) states the
overall structure of research which comprises of data collection in line with the framed research
objectives is defined in the research design. The research objectives could be achieved with the
selection of appropriate research strategy so as to collect the data required for the study. Creswell
(1994), Bell (1996), and Punch (2005) distinguished two types of research approaches which
could be used in a research based on the framed objectives- qualitative and quantitative research
approaches. Both the approaches are used for the collection of primary data. Different
researchers provided various insights about the types of research approaches. Merriam (2009)
states the qualitative research design as the process of acquiring distinct information from people
included in the research wherein their viewpoints are collected so as to gain deep insights.
Furthermore, the qualitative research design comprises of non-numerical data collection and
analysis(Saunders et al., 2009). However, a quantitative research design implies collection of
© 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved, No part of this document should be modified/used without prior consent Phd
Assistance™ - Your trusted mentor since 2001 I www.phdassisatnce.com UK: The Portergate, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11
8NX I UK # +44-1143520021, Info@Phdassistance.com

2

data which is computed statistically on the basis of numerical methods (Creswell, 2011). The
present research aims at analysing the relationship between lean management and supply chain
improvements in the Indian manufacturing industries and the perceptions of respondents in
supply chain operations of different Indian manufacturing industries (small and large scale
industries). Hence, a quantitative research methodology would be more appropriate so as to
achieve the objectives of the present research. Since the present study is based on understanding
factual opinions of respondents in supply chain, a quantitative approach is felicitous.

3.4 Research philosophy
The identification of an appropriate research philosophy is considered to be crucial in a
research since it aids the research personnel to proceed in a direction that suits the research.
Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2012) state the cognisance of real word entities and the modes
through which problems could be identified are clearly explained through the research
philosophy. In this regard, Perry (1995) defined the two kinds of research philosophy which
takes in to account the social reality- positivist and interpretivist. Based on the theory of
positivism, the world is considered as an external entity and the framed objectives are considered
as the belief of researchers whether a relationship might exist between certain variables(Bryman
& Bell, 2011). However, the interpretivist theory states the social reality of research wherein the
social world is believed to be a construction of human values (Carson et al., 2001).
A research scenario may adhere to positivist or interpretivist notions based on the
approaches of the study. Holloway & Wheeler (2002) states the philosophy of positivism is
based on specific laws and beliefs, hence individualistic or unique interpretations are neglected.
In this context, a quantitative approach is more suitable since the relationship between predictor
and control based on cause and effect relationship could be discerned. This method suits the
present study since the research is an attempt to identify the perceptions of employees involved
in the supply chain of small and large scale Indian manufacturing industries and examine
© 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved, No part of this document should be modified/used without prior consent Phd
Assistance™ - Your trusted mentor since 2001 I www.phdassisatnce.com UK: The Portergate, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11
8NX I UK # +44-1143520021, Info@Phdassistance.com

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whether firm size has an impact on the implementation and adoption of lean management
principles in supply chain. Since factual data needs to be collected, the positivist method is
selected.

3.5 Research approach
Research and theory are related with one another and Saunders et al. (2012) discerns the
relationship which could be approached using any one of the approaches- deductive and
inductive approach. The inductive approach, also known as bottom-up approach is based on the
creation of new theories which could be formed with the observations of collected data (Bryman
& Bell, 2011). On the contrary, the deductive approach which is also known as the top- down
approach is based on the understanding of previous studies from which a set of hypothesis are
generated and are tested using survey based techniques (Saunders et al., 2009; Gabriel, 2013).
Research approaches are related with the two different research designs wherein the relationship
is discerned based on the aforementioned inferences- Quantitative approach corresponds to
deductive approach and qualitative approach corresponds to inductive approach (Bryman and
Bell, 2011). In this research, the study attempts to understand the intention of people involved in
supply chain of Indian manufacturing industries towards lean adoption, implementation and
whether lean concepts were successfully steering certain aspects of organisational growth.
Hence, the approach that suits the present research would be deductive approach.

3.6 Sampling
Any research essentially requires the selection of target population and are group of
people involve in the research (Gay & Airasian, 2003). The population, also known as target
population are to be selected for research. In the present research, a total of 100 respondents are
targeted and the intention of managerial personnel towards implementation, adoption and
successful deployment of lean practices are to be discerned. Since the research attempts to
© 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved, No part of this document should be modified/used without prior consent Phd
Assistance™ - Your trusted mentor since 2001 I www.phdassisatnce.com UK: The Portergate, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11
8NX I UK # +44-1143520021, Info@Phdassistance.com

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identify whether organisational size has impacts on adoption and implementation of lean
management practices in supply chain, proportionate stratified sampling design is used. The
population was divided into two strata- small and large scale industries. However, for the
selection of samples in each stratum, a systematic random sampling technique is used.
Figure 1: Research Onion for the present study
POSITIVIST
DEDUCTIVE
MONO-METHOD (QUANTITATIVE)
SURVEY
DATA COLLECTION AND DATA ANALYSIS

Source: Adopted from Saunders et al. (2012)

3.7 Data collection
The research relies on the collection of primary data which is collected through
administering questionnaires to the representatives of selected companies in the Indian
manufacturing sector. A total of 5 Indian manufacturing sectors (Food, beverage and tobacco
industry, Building construction and mining industry, Energy, electrical and electronics industry,
Chemical and allied industry, and Pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturing
industry) in the Indian manufacturing sector is selected and firms were selected within these
industries. Two respondents from each company were selected and questionnaires were
distributed. In the selection of respondents from selected large scale companies, one is the top
management personnel (could be a Managing Director, Procurement Manager or CEO) and the
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Assistance™ - Your trusted mentor since 2001 I www.phdassisatnce.com UK: The Portergate, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11
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other is from the operations department (operations manager, production manager). However in
small scale companies, one respondent would be the owner or top management authority
whereas the other respondent would be the supervisor of the firm. The research instrument which
is the questionnaire is divided into 3 parts. The first part of the questionnaire acquires personal
information about the respondent (age, experience, gender and so on). The second part collects
the intention of respondents towards Lean supply practices and the third section covers the
obstacles of implementing Lean concepts in the supply chain.

3.8 Data analysis
The analysis of collected quantitative data is performed using IBM SPSS software
(version 20.0). The SPSS statistics tool is used to statistically analyse collected data and also aids
in facilitating certain functions such as data documentation and management. One important
advantage of SPSS statistics tool is that the functions are easy even for beginners. The tool is
used in various fields of research such as education, health and social science (SPSS, 2015).

3.9 Ethical consideration
The present study warrants complete confidentiality in all aspects with respect to data
collection, and the information of the subjects participating in the survey. Since the present
research collects data from human sources, the gathered information will be saved in a manner
without exposing the data elsewhere. Respondents are recognised by their ‘Unique Identification
Number (UIN)’ which further ensures securing their personal information such as name. The
collected data will be maintained in a confidential manner and shall be shared only with the
research guide.

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Assistance™ - Your trusted mentor since 2001 I www.phdassisatnce.com UK: The Portergate, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11
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3.10 Summary of the chapter
The present chapter is the research methodology adopted in the study wherein the aims
and objectives of the research, the design of research, the research philosophy and approach
adopted, the type of sampling performed and the collection of data were elaborated. Furthermore,
the data analysis tool used in the present study and the ethical considerations of the research were
explained.

© 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved, No part of this document should be modified/used without prior consent Phd
Assistance™ - Your trusted mentor since 2001 I www.phdassisatnce.com UK: The Portergate, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11
8NX I UK # +44-1143520021, Info@Phdassistance.com

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