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Qualitative Literature Review, Essay Example

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1.0 Introduction

Qualitative research is the research approach in which the observed phenomena are studied from a subjective viewpoint that is supported with logical evidence and interpretation, as also stated by Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill (2009). Further, according to Morgan (1983), in qualitative approaches, the WH inquires of “why” and “how” things behave in their qualitative backdrop, i.e. a qualitative approach gives an in-depth understanding of the reasons for the observed social phenomenon without involving objective information. Here, in this “qualitative literature review”, five peer reviewed scholarly research articles are selected and a brief review of each of the papers is presented underlining its purpose, problem and qualitative findings.

1.1 Research Article I

This research was conducted by Geraldine E. Hynes in 2012, the chief aim of which is to investigate how improving interpersonal communication amongst the employees of an organisation would lead to lead to inculcating better competencies and better employee engagement (Hynes, 2012). The research problem recognised by the author comes into light in the context where there is necessity for the relationship between employee engagement and success in business both of which are qualitative variables. Under the above stated context, the research undertaken recognises that employee engagement is intrinsically associated with interpersonal communication amongst the employees. Hence, the need for interpersonal communication is the established research problem. Also, the purpose of this research was to emphasize on the importance of training to employees with regards to inculcating interpersonal skills. The qualitative research strategy chosen to realize the objectives of this study is case study. As remarked by Padgett (2004), case study is the best strategy to research in-depth the problem in more specific context than a generalized scenario involving many.

The qualitative research method chosen was survey using questionnaires distributed via surveymonkey.com. The survey was divided into two parts, the first survey was conducted at the outset of the training programme seeking the responses from the employee participants about their satisfaction with regards to materials used in the training programme, the topics covered, the activities conducted and whether they were satisfied with the instructors’ capabilities. In the second version of the survey, the respondents were surveyed for researching on their behavioural changes after undergoing the interpersonal skills training programme. Both open and close ended questions were employed for the purpose.

Results of the research showed that the participants were very satisfied with the training programme attributed to its practical approach most of all. Also, some of the participants felt that the training programme can be recommended to any professional at any level of employment. The training programme had diversified approach wherein the communication skills were imparted as to how to communicate upwards in the organizational system. The participants felt that such training programme is very much a necessity for every corporate institution. Some of the main implications of this research were, 1) the need for classroom activity was recognised, 2) the need to realize that real time workplace interactions are imperative to build interpersonal relationships and this would enhance workforce productivity, and 3) consulting with professionals of business communication is vital to the training programmes on interpersonal skills.

1.2 Research Article II

This research paper published in 2012 was a result from the collective efforts of Peggy A. Hannon, Kristen Hammerback, Gayle Garson, Jeffrey R. Harris and Carrie J. Sopher. The research was aimed to study “stakeholder perspectives on workplace health promotion with specific focus on midsized employers in low wage industries” (Hannon, Hammerback Garson, Harris, and Sopher, 2012).

The whole purpose of this research was divided into the following:

  • To understand and describe perceptions of stakeholders on WHP (Workplace health promotion) and its appropriateness
  • To inquire into the barriers for implementing WHP as well as to discover its facilitators
  • To inquire whether WHP programmes were extended to the spouses and partners of the employees and inquire into what their attitudes in this regard are
  • To study the willingness of non-profit organizations to collaborate with businesses towards implementing WHP

For the above intended purposes focus group method was chosen as the qualitative research method. The chosen respondents were gathered and focus group interviews were conducted for about one and half hour for each group of respondents. The chosen sample groups were the representatives coming from mid-sized businesses located in Seattle, Washington. Thereby, 34 HR professionals who manage WHP programmes in their respective firms were chosen for focus group interview participation. Further, a semi-structured interview guide for the focus group was prepared and conducted accordingly.

The majority of the participants appreciated the appropriateness of WHP; however, most of the participants also had reservations with regards to intervening in the personal lives of the workforce. The transcripts of the focus group interviews were analysed with qualitative analysis approach in accordance with grounded theory.

The study found out that some of the barriers to WHP implementation were the expenditure incurred, logistical constraints, time as well as cultural barriers. Although the respondents were positive about extending WHP programmes to the families of workers, they were unsure of how to implement such policies. Moreover, the majority expressed it as beneficial when partnered with non-profit organizations for implementing WHP. In conclusion, it was observed by the study that there are various barriers to implementing WHP in mid-sized and low-wage providing businesses; however, it was recommended that the firms collaborate with non-profit organizations towards realizing WHP initiatives.

1.3 Research article III

The chosen research article was aimed to qualitatively study the “social, psychological, and existential wellbeing in patients with glioma and their caregivers” (Cavers, Hacking, Erridge, Kendall, Morris, & Murray, 2012).

The effect of cerebral glioma, i.e. its damage to cognitive, social, spiritual, psychological and physical wellbeing of the patient sets the background to this research. The purpose of the study was to understand in-depth the multi-dimensional experience through which the patients undergo during the progress of the disease right from the phase of diagnosis through to its terminal stage.

A tertiary referral center located in UK was chosen for the purpose of research and the patients under observation suspected with brain tumour were chosen for research. Interview method was chosen as the qualitative research method using which the patients (26 in numbers) as well as their caregivers (23) were interviewed using different sets of semi-designed interview models for the two different groups. The patients in different critical phases of disease progression were interviewed to research their behavioural and cognitive perceptions and responses. On the other hand, the caregivers were interviewed following the bereavement of the patients. Also, the general practitioners (19) before and after administering the treatments to patients were interviewed. All the interviews were recorded and transcribed after which the transcriptions were processed through thematic analysis involving constant comparison of findings in accordance with grounded theory.

The findings show that patients exhibited stressful symptoms even before the suspected disease was confirmed. The stressful behaviour of the patients prior to confirmation of the disease was physical, psychological, social as well as existential in nature. The decline on social activity was in line with the trajectory showing physical decline. However, the existential and psychological stress exhibited acuteness in during the time surrounding the diagnosis. Such acute decline was also observed during and after initial medical administration. Also, the behavioural variables changed in accordance with factors such as the availability of caregivers and other external support from their families. The patients’ behavioural variables also changed with the availability of resilience and emotional solace. The outcomes of this research indicated various implications such as that the understanding of the behavioural exhibits and their trajectories would help the practitioners in treating the patients better looking into their existential wellbeing and would help this in giving the patients what they rightly need at different phases of the disease with effective communication.

1.4 Research article IV

The chosen research article is a qualitative studies those inquiries into “why residential consumers in a rural Area of Australia voluntarily purchase Green Electricity?”- (Hartono, 2012).

Given that the popularity of GE is increasing on global scale in most countries and also in Australia where GE’s scenario is intriguing and complex, this study aims to inquire as to why the GE patronage is increasing annually. Therefore, the study was conducted with the purpose of identifying the factors responsible for encouraging or discouraging the residential customers living in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia who are increasing resorting to GE for green power.

An exploratory research approach was followed for this study. Thereby, an in-depth interview process was adopted and 17 residential customers from Armidale who purchased GE power were interviewed. The qualitative analysis method used was Matrix Display Data (MDT) using which the interview responses were analysed.

The findings of the study showed that most of the customers bought GE power for its environmental benefits. However, on the grounds that GE did not provide environmental reasons to purchase its power, customers are likely to pull out from its patronage. Hence, it was recommended that GE made its programme more economical in order to retain its customer base in Australia.

1.5 Research article V

The chosen research article aimed at studying “HRM practices in logistics service provider industry” (Goh Hui and Kaliannan, 2011). With constant changes in the business scenarios and also due to the impact of globalisation, there have been considerable changes in the way human resources are managed, for instance, in some scenarios; strategic human resources management takes the place of the conventional HRM. This research through the study of literature found out that sustainability is attained in competitiveness only if such competitiveness remains inimitable by any other competitor. Competitive advantage was seen to be attained in the logistics industry through proper alignment of human resources strategically. Operations efficiency in the logistics industry can be attained through organizational competitiveness which requires proper alignment of HR. Hence, the research embarked on the importance of strategic human resources management system as the background.

For the stated purpose, this research adopted a qualitative approach using case study as the research strategy. Thereby, interviews as primary data collection processes were conducted in the chosen case study firm situated in Malaysia. The HR managers at the firm were interviewed on various aspects that are generally observed in context of HRM practices in logistics firms and the responses were transcribed. Qualitative analysis of the responses resulted in the following findings; there are barriers to alignment of organizational structure towards implementing strategic HRM; there is lack of collaboration in the workforce, there is abundance of disciplinary issues, and also most importantly a very high employee turnover rate amongst the lorry drivers.

Some of the recommendations that were made were; an exclusive SHRM plan in line with the business development plan existing, motivation and encouragement to employees to develop team synergy, and also to implant a human resources MIS (HR MIS).

2.0 Conclusion

The above reviewed research articles served as providers of excellent knowledge on qualitative research and their importance. The studied research articles also helped gaining in-depth insight into qualitative research methods used for attaining research objectives and also the analyses procedures used. Moreover, the type of results obtained through qualitative approaches and their implications and importance are very well understood through this review.

3.0 References

Cavers, D., Hacking, B., Erridge, S., Kendall, M., Morris, P., & Murray, S. (2012). Social, psychological and existential well-being in patients with glioma and their caregivers: a qualitative study. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal De L’association Medicale Canadienne, 184(7), E373-E382.

Goh Hui, C., & Kaliannan, M. (2011). Human Resource Management Practices in Logistic Service Provider Industry: A Case Study. Interdisciplinary Journal Of Contemporary Research In Business, 2(9), 32-44.

Hannon, P. A., Hammerback, K., Garson, G., Harris, J. R., & Sopher, C. J. (2012). Stakeholder Perspectives on Workplace Health Promotion: A Qualitative Study of Midsized Employers in Low-Wage Industries. American Journal Of Health Promotion, 27(2), 103-110.

Hartono, A. (2012). Why Residential Consumers in a Rural Area of Australia Voluntarily Purchase Green Electricity? A Qualitative Study. European Journal Of Economics, Finance & Administrative Sciences, (47), 6-12.

Hynes, G. E. (2012). Improving Employees’ Interpersonal Communication Competencies: A Qualitative Study. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(4), 466-475.

Morgan, G. (1983). Research strategies: modes of engagement. Sage Publications.

Padgett, D. (2004). The qualitative research experience. Belmont, CA: Sage Publications.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business students. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited, UK.

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