Thesis: International Management Research Methods the Literature Review

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International Management Research Methods

The literature review for Wan, Hui & Tsang's article "Factors affecting Singaporeans' acceptance of international postings" contributes to the study in several key ways. It sets the framework for the discussion, provides insight into previous research on the subject, gives international context and it also determines the importance and relevance of the study by illustrating where the study fits with contemporary research. These are consistent with the established objectives for literature reviews in general (University of Toronto, 2009).

In setting the framework for the discussion, the literature review of this paper explains the basic themes concerning the decision to accept an overseas assignment, and further details that the present paper is going to address the issue with specific regard to Singaporeans. This presents the reader with the needed framework to understand the points of discussion that follow.

A literature review should provide insight into the previous research on the subject. For this topic, there are many facets of research that should be addressed. The literature review for this paper should ideally address topics such as the decision to accept an overseas assignment, the different types of oversea assignments and the general reaction to these different types. Studies at this stage of the literature review can be relatively brief. The authors are brief, perhaps too much, but they explain the concept well.

The literature review then moves into the second important topic, which is the specific Singaporean context. This is again covered in brief, just enough to frame the discussion. The literature review moves into definitions of the key terms used in the study, which again helps to set the framework for the reader.

The second function that this literature review serves is to provide insight on previous research on the subject. This is important because the authors are expected to find gaps in the existing research that they intend to fill with their paper. In this instance, the authors take the view that there is little in the existing literature review that specifically addresses the acceptance of overseas assignments within the Singaporean context.

The third function of the literature review is to give the research a full international context. This is not a function of all literature reviews, but this paper is uniquely focused on the international domain. The authors do, to some extent, attempt to cover the international literature and subsequently synthesize it with Singapore-specific literature, albeit in a fairly thin manner. Again, it is the contention of the authors that there is little previous research with which to work.

The fourth function of the literature review is to justify the current research. This can be done not only by pointing out the gaps in the current body of research, but also by interpreting the existing body of research to determine which areas are most in need of contribution. The authors do this in a superficial way, although certainly they are correct that the research fills in gaps, it is only the importance of those gaps they fail to fully justify. Even that is likely a function of poor argumentative writing rather than any deficiency in their logic.

Overall, the literature review expends significant energy outlining the key research terms and the methodology. This makes for a stronger literature review that is more accessible to a lay audience. Given the topic of the research, such an audience can be expected. The literature review in total provides a strong framework for the study and solid justification for the study's conduct.

2. Sampling allows researchers to draw conclusions about a whole by examining a part. Researchers are therefore not interested in the sample itself, but in how the data from the survey can be applied to the whole population (Statistics Canada, 2009). The survey should begin with detailed objectives. In this case, the authors used the literature to frame the nature of their study. They wished to measure two things, the first being the willingness of Singaporeans to consider overseas assignments in the context of both cultural distance from their home culture. The second being that for each culture distance (high or low), what the key factors were that would determine the intent to accept an assignment.

In this case, both the survey's objectives and the population size have been determined. The population size consisting of Singaporean businesspeople. The sample selection, therefore, must deliver a sample group whose survey results can be extrapolated over the broader population.

The survey plan then must take into account three key factors. The first is the sample design; the second is the estimation technique and the third are the measures of precision (Statistics Canada, 2009). For this survey, the authors sampled 212 business people. The survey respondents were pre-screened for suitability based on measures of their likelihood of being given an overseas assignment and their status as a Singaporean national. The survey respondents were found at random on the street in Shenton Way, a central business district.

The latter point calls into question the applicability of the study to the entire population of Singaporean business people. Employees subject to overseas placements need not come strictly from the glass towers. Indeed, a range of workers in construction, oil and gas exploration, mining, defense contracting and other primary industries are subject to overseas assignments, as are employees of the national government. By only focusing the survey on one geographic area, the authors unduly limited the scope of the survey.

Moreover, they would have needed to rely on visual cues in their search for potential respondents. Singapore's population reflects its history as a trading center, a crossroads and a colonized nation. While Chinese, Malay or Tamil-descended Singaporeans may easily have been picked out from the crowd for the survey, Singaporeans of European origin are estimated to be 2.4% of the citizenry, and have a propensity to the types of work that could send them overseas.

Indeed, the demographic profile of the respondent was varied from the demographics of Singapore's business community in a number of key ways. The respondents were 87.5% Chinese, a group that is only 74.2% of the population (Singapore Department of Statistics, 2009). The bulk of the respondents were also between the ages of 21-30 and single. Single Singaporeans accounted for 58% of the survey respondents but just 31% of the nation's population (Ibid). The dominant demographic in the survey represents just 15% of Singaporeans.

Many of these respondents are in a better position in terms of their personal life to accept overseas postings, but they lack the work experience to be tapped for such a role. In general, overseas postings are reserved for workers with greater work experience, at high managerial or executive levels, due to the high cost of expatriate posting.

The conclusion we can draw from this is that the survey selection process was relatively weak. It did not yield a survey that can reasonably predict the attitudes and behavioral intent of members of the Singaporean business community as a whole, since the survey varies wildly from the target population in almost all demographic metrics.

The method of selection the sample, therefore, reduces the reliability of the evidence. Had the authors recognized the limitations of their selection technique, they could have reasonably adjusted their estimation technique. Instead, they have attempted to extrapolate the results to the entire population of potential Singapore expatriates.

There is also cause to question whether or not the impromptu survey is yielding an accurate measure of intent. While the respondents did not appear to have any reason to be dishonest, that their participation was unscheduled means that they may not have given full consideration to the questions. Furthermore, given the number of young workers in the survey, many may not have had the opportunity to consider the issue in their work life. Faced with the questions for the first time, they may have given superficial answers, without having given full consideration to the questions.

The sample selection and estimation process, therefore, does not give confidence in the reliability of evidence. The sample size would have been sufficient had a more complete mix of the population been selected. However, given the dramatic variances between the survey group and the target population, there is considerable cause to lack confidence in the results of this survey. However, it is impossible to make such a determination with certainty. There is a paucity of evidence with respect to the demographic profile of Singaporeans asked to accept an overseas assignment. It is entirely possible that this profile matches the profile of the survey group -- however at this point we simply do not know. There are doubts about the reliability of the survey, but lack information to come to a final determination on this issue.

3. The survey was designed with two key objectives. The first was to determine the impact of culture distance on the decision to accept an overseas posting. The second was to test the impact of a wide variety of variables on the decision to accept… [END OF PREVIEW]

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International Management Research Methods the Literature Review.  (2009, November 27).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/international-management-research-methods/914998

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"International Management Research Methods the Literature Review."  27 November 2009.  Web.  17 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/international-management-research-methods/914998>.

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"International Management Research Methods the Literature Review."  Essaytown.com.  November 27, 2009.  Accessed July 17, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/international-management-research-methods/914998.