How Are Statistics Applied in Today's Business Environment? Thesis

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¶ … Statistics Applied in Today's Businees Environment?

Statistics Applied in Today's Business Environment

Today's business environment is the result of numerous processes of change in both micro as well as macro environments. Some examples of forces which generated change include the political decisions to liberalize markets and support free trade, the growing forces of globalization or several socio-cultural changes in the attitudes and behaviors of customers. The results of the modifications are also numerous, to include, amongst other things, a rapid pace of technological development or an intensifying competition.

Economic agents responded to these growing challenges by developing and implementing wide sets of strategic courses of action. They for instance recognized the growing role of customers in the process of revenues registration and they as such invested large sums of money within marketing endeavors. Then, entrepreneurs recognized the position played by the staff members in satisfying the customers, and allocated incremental budgets to the human resource decisions. They also recognized the growing threat of environmental instability and as such focused their attention on developing environmentally friendly products and services, with the usage of greener technologies, recycling and so on. The list of such examples could go on for pages, but at this stage however, it is important to recognize the common element of each endeavor -- the fact that they all used statistical information.

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Statistics is often perceived as difficult to comprehend and a seemingly useless field. The complex formulas and reduced perceived applicability of statistics are generally the ones to be blamed for this discernment. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Whether realizing it or not, statistics is part of the everyday life and its role within the modern day business community is intensifying.

2. Statistics Applied in Business

Thesis on How Are Statistics Applied in Today's Business Environment? Assignment

Statistics are virtually applied in all aspects of business operations, from the education and formation of a business man, to internal processes within the organization or to market research. Similar to the concepts it promotes, statistics is in itself a complex field. Various attempts have been made to offer a definition of the notion, but a generally accepted one has yet to be issued. The explanation for this relies primarily in the mixed perceptions of the means and quantities of data and theory used by statistical computations (Bartholomew, 1995).

Despite the academic debate on the accurate definition of statistics, it is useful at this stage to present one of the definitions which is most reliable and popular. It is a highly simple one, forwarded by Ron Larson and Elizabeth Farber and it states that statistics represents "the science of collecting, organizing, analyzing and interpreting data in order to make decisions" (Larson and Farber, 2004). The very simple definition of statistics reveals its tremendous role within the business community -- that of supporting an efficient decision making process.

The following pages detail several means in which statistics is being currently applied within the business community in terms of:

business education marketing

financial analysis business diversification business expansion, and product quality

2.1. Statistics Applied to Business Education

Each and every future economist is presented through college with the necessity of taking on at least one course in statistics. Most students are reticent to the subject and do not study it thoroughly, but only try as hard as they need to pass the exam. This is generally because they do not see the real applicability of the subject. As they move on to jobs however, they are presented with real life business situations, in which statistics easily find not only applicability, but in which they are absolutely necessary. Given this context, it becomes clear that the role of statistics in schools is that of preparing the future business man for his duties.

It is accepted that the average formed businessman will not possess sufficient knowledge to implement statistics the first day on the job. One might then wonder why university professors teach statistics if young graduates are not able to use it on the job. The answer is extremely simple and logical -- college education sets some ground rule and introduces the student to some basic knowledge of statistics. This means that at the end of the semester, he will be able to reflect at least some statistics rationale. When coming across a piece of information such as the results of a questionnaire, the student will be able to inquire on the size, structure and other features of the sample used in the analysis as well as the accuracy of the study, the accepted standard deviation from the results or other strictly statistical questions.

This step is a tremendous one for future employers as it offers them a basis on which to further build and add new statistics information, through training or through direct practice, and enjoy the result of a highly skilled and capable employee, who is able to implement statistics within the business decision making process. Otherwise put, the goal of statistics education in business schools is that of "teaching students to think statistically, to become educated consumers of statistical expertise and to communicate well with nonstatisticians" (Wild, 1994).

Given this great role of statistics within the educational process, it is no wonder that intense efforts are being made to enhance the effectiveness of statistics within not only the business community, but also within educational institutions. This task of enhancing the effectiveness of statistics falls in the hands of the MSMESB conferences, or Making Statistics More Effective in Schools of Business, launched as early as 1986 (Love and Hildebrand, 2002).

2.2. Statistics Applied to Marketing

As it has been mentioned throughout the introductory part, marketing endeavors have come to play a pivotal part in the ultimate success of any business effort. Marketing represents the means by which customers become familiarized with the product, generate a demand for the company's item and purchase it, to create organizational revenues. Marketing also represents the means by which the company communicates with and enlarges its customer base. It can easily be argued that statistics is pivotal in the success of marketing efforts mostly due to the major increase in not only the volume, but also the complexity of the data available within the market, data which cannot either wise be efficiently processed without the support of statistics (Rossi and Allenby, 2000).

The examples of how marketing specialists use statistics to sustain the business goals of the organization are endless. For instance, the marketing department at Nestle could be presented with the necessity to create a campaign for whole wheat cereal for children. The endeavor would be part of a strategy of increasing awareness of what we eat, but it is clear that the task is a difficult one. In approaching its chore, the marketing department would assess information on the past campaigns and their success rates. Then, it would create a new campaign and test it onto a relevant sample of children and parents. The results of the testing would be collected and assessed in order to tell the company which sections of the campaign should be improved, which should be maintained and so on.

Statistical information could also help economic agents decide which products they should promote. Take for instance the case of retail giant Wal-Mart and assume that they have been faced with the opportunity of selling more organic products. Generically, organic products imply additional costs in the meaning that they are more perishable, more sensitive and even retail for higher prices. This could also imply that Wal-Mart could have to reduce its profit margin in order to increase the appeal of the organic products to customers. All these actions stand against the very core of the Wal-Mart philosophy of reducing costs in order to offer the lowest possible price. Nevertheless, the marketing research conducted through statistical methods would reveal a growing market for organic products. Despite the price difference, organic products offer consumer a sense that they are investing in their own health, as well as in the well being of the environment. Without statistics, the managerial team at Wal-Mart could have refused the offer of selling more organic products; with the aid of statistics however, they are able to identify the growing trend and demand for such products, and seize the opportunity as a means of product diversification, enlargement of the customer base and revenue consolidation.

2.3. Statistics Applied to financial analysis

There are two primary means in which statistics apply to financial analysis. First of all, there is the assessment of the company's financial performances relative to itself. This assessment is generally conducted throughout the duration of several years, at least three, sometimes seven, but generally four or five. The results are included in documents for internal circulation or within annual reports, and then assessed. Statistics are used to compute various entries in financial statements, such as income from a specific type of operation and its change throughout the years. Based on the statistical information retrieved, organizational leaders will be able to develop and implement the most… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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